A recent stroll into the orchard has revealed that the plums have started to ripen. Some have already tumbled to the floor.
One of the first plums to ripen in our orchard is the variety ‘Sanctus Hubertus’. This is a relatively modern variety, introduced in 1966, and is a ‘Mater Dolorosa’/’Rivers Early Prolific’ cross. It’s an early ripening variety, and has the RHS AGM award, which is always a good sign. The fruit is medium sized, oval in shape and a dark blue/black colour with a lovely bloom. It’s sweet enough, when ripe, to be eaten as fresh, so is often classified as a dual purpose plum.
More relevant to the task in hand, it is a ‘freestone’ style of plum, which means that the stone comes away cleanly from the flesh, perfect for splitting the fruit in two for drying.
For one shelf we inverted the halved plum to see if this made any difference to the end result. We kept with the suggested drying temperature of 135 degrees celsius on the Excalibur dehydrator and set the timer for 6 hours. I’ll check on progress later today.
Meanwhile I’ve been looking out potential recipes. The BBC Good Food website has an enticing list. I’m particularly taken with the autumnal list of desserts, such as spiced rice pudding with prune and Marsala compote, (The Hairy Bikers), or perhaps Barmbrack parfait with whisky prunes, (Donal Skehan), or maybe poached quince and winter fruit in spiced wine, (Raymond Blanc)….
Reading this week: The Otters’ Tale by Simon Cooper.