Sunday, July 22, 2012

My Grandma's Plums

I canned plums today.  It is a trip into my childhood and food is the vehicle that takes me there.
My Grandparents were homesteaders on Buckhorn Flatts near Riverton Wyoming.  They ran some cattle, raised sugarbeets, ran the beet dump, and had a dairy.  When I was little, I loved to be at Pappa Hinkle's house.  The men would come into Grandma's kitchen after milking, and have coffee.  They ate their lunch around that table, and talked of all things.  There was humor and love always in that house.  We ate cottage cheese with syrup, and tomatoes with sugar sprinkled on them, and these wonderful canned plums.  Sitting there next to the white built in china cabinet, and looking out the window that overlooked  the chicken house, which I had a fascination for, I always felt at home and content.
I loved my Grandmother's canned plums.  Their tart and tangy sweetness is just one of those things that tastes like nothing else. The smell of the syrup alone is one of those things that makes you pause, and inhale deeply, exhaling with the word Aaaahhhh.  They should be served ice cold, or thickened in a pie.
Now that I am grown and can my own fruit, I find that plums are my favorite to can.  They are so simple.  Just cut them in half and pour over a light syrup made from 8 C water, and 2 C sugar boiled together.  Then process in a boiling water bath for twenty minutes for pints like these pictured above, or 25 minutes for quarts. No treating with fruit fresh, or peeling off skins, just plunk them in the jars and away we go!

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