British plum season runs from late July, with dusky red Opals, through to mid-to-late September, with the Marjorie’s Seedling.
Perhaps it’s because they’re one of the last fruits of summer and one of the first of autumn, it’s sometimes easy to forget about plums. They’re generally not top of our summer soft fruit list, and don’t trigger that wash of childhood nostalgia that blackberry picking inspires this time of year. So in the frenzy of preparing for the abundance of the autumn harvest, this seasonal fruit often slips by unnoticed.
But there are heaps of brilliant ways to enjoy this humble little fruit.
Perfectly sweet and tart, plums make killer compotes (recipe below), old school puds, tasty jams and tarts. Or, go savoury. Plums (like their close relative the apricot) become more acidic as they are heated, so they work brilliantly with duck and pork too. For a super quick fix, layer tangy goats cheese and slices of plums (even some prosciutto if on hand) on lightly toasted sourdough bread for a pretty amazing open sandwich. There are plenty of plum-packed recipes ideas around, and here’s a great place to start.
Like all seasonal treats, plums in season are so much better than the freighted imports found 52 weeks a year in supermarkets, so this September, don’t pass up our plums. You’ll be missing a trick if you do.
Spiced plum compote
Served warm or cold, this simple spiced compote is packed with flavour and makes a great addition to your cooking plans this week. Swirl it in yogurt, spoon it over your morning porridge or serve it with duck or pork.
- 300ml water
- 150g caster sugar
- 500g pitted plum
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 3-4 whole star anise
- Heat a large saucepan and bring the water to boil. Once boiling, add the sugar and let the mixture bubble for about 30 seconds.
- Rinse then add the plums, cinnamon sticks and star anise and simmer for a further 8-10 minutes.
- Remove the plums, and simmer the sauce, stirring gently until it thickens, then pour over the plums.
- Mash the mixture gently with a fork, then either serve as a sauce or store in a jam jar in the fridge for 2-3 days.