Thursday, 2 September 2010

In Season: Plums

I've been buying lots of plums recently, proper, ripe, british plums. Plums are in season right now and their season should last till about late September- October. 

Plums come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, and even under different names: greengages, damsons, sloes (those tiny things growing in the woods), bullaces, etc. When feeding to your birds don't forget to remove the pip as it is poisonous (not the outer shell but the kernel, but still it is best to remove the whole pip). 

To make the most of it, eat them raw, bake them in pies or even make a jar of plum jam, why not!

The benefits of plums:
Plums contain good amount of vitamin C, A, B12 and also potassium and dietary fibre. Plums are a good source of phenols, which are strong antioxidants, protecting each cell of our body from damage. Of course you will get the best out of your plums if you consume them fully ripe. 

Of course I've been sharing the plums with Digby. I can't say he is that keen, but he eats a tiny bit and that is good enough for me. You don't have to give them only raw. They can also be baked, mashed and chopped along with other fruit to create a yummy fruit salad for birds. Low-fat plain natural yogurt will make a good dressing for that sort of salad. Or simply add baked plums to plain yogurt to sweeten it and make it more fun for your bird.

This is how I've used my latest batch of plums (for humans only, I am afraid, none of it is good for the birds)
I've made a tray crumble cake.
It is really easy to make and it is sooooo good.
All you need is:
270g plain or self-raising flour (I use self-raising, just because it is the only one I have got at the moment)
125g sugar
200-215g fridge cold butter
about half a jar of any berry conserve
and about 6-7 medium sized plums, sliced.

Mix flour, sugar and butter with your fingers until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. 
Line your tin/tray with baking parchment and place 3/4 of the mixture on the tray. Gently flatten the mixture to form a thin base, but don't overdo it as it will become hard and unpleasant if compacted too much. 
(ignore the brown line along the right side of the table, it is not dirt, it is cinnamon, my way of fighting off ants. They are gone now but I kept the cinnamon on for just a bit longer in case they decide to return!)

Now take your conserve. If it is a bit too jelly-like break it up with a spoon in a bowl, then spread it evenly on top of the dough mix. I used Waitrose seedless raspberry jam.  Sprinkle sliced plums on tops and then top it all up with remaining dough mixture. 

Place in the oven for about 40-55 minutes, at gas mark 4 (170C). When it is ready, take the tray out of the oven and let the cake cool completely before attempting to remove it from the tin, otherwise it will all break apart.

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