The Harvest Begins for Shiro Plums

On Sunday I began to harvest my Shiro plums. This sweet-tasting yellow plum produces small, clingstone fruit toward the end of July in my Zone 6b garden. The first year I harvested the plums, I picked them all on the same day and immediately tried to bake them down into jam. I believe my last attempt to make jam actually came out as plum sauce because there wasn't enough pectin developed in the fruit at the time I started cooking.

So this year, I promised myself, things would be different! I will leave those babies on the tree until they are yellow! But starting last week, a lot of the fruit started to split. At first I thought it was the result of a dry spring and recent rainfall, but then I noticed the bugs starting to go after the fruit. (That's always a tip off for me when I leave my Kieffer pears on the tree too long.) So I looked it up online and found out that after picking, the fruit still needs to sit on the counter for a few days to ripen. In addition, the fruit should be firm and have a powdery film on it.

Sure enough, I started to pick the fruit and it was still a little firm - but not hard - and there was definitely a film. Each plum I picked from the tree lessened its load. (Breaking branches was another thing I was worried about as the plums continued to grow heavier.) Now 11 pounds are sitting on my kitchen counter patiently waiting to be turned into something delicious! (There's still more fruit on the tree that I haven't picked yet as well.)

I'm thinking jam ... lots of it. Or perhaps a plum tart.


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