Inspiration comes from all sorts of places; you have to keep you ears and eyes open to spot the links between ideas and opportunities or needs. One of our current opportunities – or needs – is to deal with July’s glut of soft fruit, including over a kilo of plums picked on Saturday. If you leave the fruit on the plants, it will drop and rot; most fruits also won’t last very long when picked without additional measures being taken. And the inspiration? We said goodbye yesterday to a house guest who’d been with us for a couple of weeks and, during that time, he had mentioned how his grandmother used to pickle plums.
He didn’t have a recipe but that was enough to set us revising our books on preserving and to find a method of preserving fruit in hot, spiced syrup. There wasn’t a recipe for plums, although they were mentioned, but the one for pears looked tasty. Our harvest batch is now bottled up in jars, poached and protected with a syrup made from sugar and vinegar flavoured with lemon rind and cardamom seeds.
All that remains is to wait for at least a month before opening the jars to let the flavours permeate; there will be plenty more harvest to deal with before we get there!