Monday, September 10, 2007

take twenty pounds of pitted purple plums...

The big question in our local newspaper's Saturday gardening column Q&A was "Hey, what's with all the plums this year? I'm drowning in 'em!"

The answer from the experts is that the ideal spring weather had the plum trees blooming like crazy and producing hundreds of those little purple offspring. They're calling it the harvest of the century and I have first hand evidence of the phenomenon.

We have our own plum tree, but it's an early variety and has been rather sickly of late, so we didn't get much of a haul from there. My mother-in-law, however, has an ancient and very hardy tree in her allotment garden and can't keep up with the picking.

All those excess plums mean that we have been the on the receiving end of baskets, buckets and crates full of fruit over the past week or so. We've frozen several bags, the two vegetable crispers in our basement fridge are chock full and there's a huge box of the little devils outside on the terrace. I don't mind, really, but the question is what to do with all of them. I would make jam, but the mother-in-law has the monopoly on that and I wouldn't want to tip the delicate balance of in-law relations, you know?

Over the weekend I tried out a few recipes, some of which were new to me.

Here we have the ol' Zwetschgenknödel or plum dumplings. I also made these last year and there's a link to the recipe in this post if anyone wants it.

Next up was a kind of deep dish streusel cake. It was all right but I don't know that I'd make it again. I like this recipe from last year better, I think.

This is plum tea bread. Very tasty. Next time I'll use more plums.

And last but not least, a recipe called Plum Ketchup which is really more like a chutney or relish. It's spicy and delicious and, yes, I've been eating it with a spoon but it also goes wonderfully with chicken or pork or whatever you like. I'm going to make a whole bunch more.

So that's about five pounds of purple plums down and five zillion to go. Wish me luck!


At September 10, 2007 5:23 p.m., Blogger Betsy said...

We've already eaten about twenty pounds of pitted purple plums this year. Or at least it feels like it.

(I still love them, though. We might have eaten even more if they hadn't started mouldering in the bucket...)

Your dumplings turned out gorgeous! Maybe that's what I'll do with the next load. I'm thinking it's time to try something new... :-)

At September 10, 2007 6:52 p.m., Blogger The Big Finn said...

I like the chutney idea. It looks like it's going to be good!

At September 10, 2007 7:39 p.m., Anonymous Katja said...

We've got thousands of Zwetschgen as well... You should try this recipe, we really love it and it is very easy to make:

At September 10, 2007 10:02 p.m., Blogger mar said...

I recognize that last bottle. It has the shape of our local Lidl sauces...I am not a homemaker at all and I wish I was one when I see all your wonderful creations.
Everything looks just delicious!

At September 10, 2007 10:36 p.m., Anonymous MollyB said...

Excellent! Thanks for the tips and recipes. My running buddy is facing massive case of BGB §§ 910 - 911 BGB (Überhang + Überfall) and her family dislikes Zwetschgenkuchen.

At September 11, 2007 12:56 a.m., Anonymous Maribeth said...

And I just posted a Plum Kuchen recipe on my blog that is really good!

At September 11, 2007 12:43 p.m., Blogger Rositta said...

Oooh, I am so jealous. I'm here in Athens without a proper kitchen so I can't bake and cook. I love those dumplings, maybe my aunt will make me some next week. I am getting so sick of Greek food and five more weeks to go...ciao

At September 11, 2007 1:39 p.m., Blogger Lynda said...

The plum ketchup sounds good - anything to get away from the citus fruit that has taken over my life - I can't see another piece!

I even got bored with blogging about it - and yes there is still boxes of the stuff.

Interesting about the bumper crop of plums you have over there - our spring blossoms are just incredible this year. There is a tree around the corner that is so full and rich it takes my breath away each time I drive past. Perhaps we are in for a big plum season too.

At September 11, 2007 7:33 p.m., Blogger tinakala said...

Oh. Just send them all to me. I love plums. Via e-mail would be cool:)

At September 11, 2007 11:38 p.m., Blogger Angie said...

Plums, figs... I think I'll pass on both. Now if those were cherries, you'd have me! However, your culinary masterpieces impress me, as usual.

The wedding isn't until 9/22. I feel a blog post update coming on tonight! We'll see. :)

At September 12, 2007 12:01 a.m., Blogger Thimbleanna said...

Your recipes look fabulous. I haven't heard of plum dumplings -- if you don't add the extra cinnamon and sugar, do you eat them as part of your main dinner, i.e., not as a dessert? Or are they strictly a dessert item?

At September 12, 2007 5:09 p.m., Blogger Claire said...

Oy! That is a lot of plums! As you witnessed, my mother-in-law has been making a lot plum cake this year. I have to admit though, I am not a big fan of plums. The tea cake looks good though.

At September 12, 2007 8:12 p.m., Blogger Runaway Rubber Duckie said...

I hope the wasps don't find you and your plums..
I think it has been a bad plum year here!
We have had problems like that in the past, but I have never seen such creative solutions!

At September 14, 2007 11:50 a.m., Blogger Michelle said...

The plum dumplings (which I remember from the last time as well) look soooo good. I need to try that one. The chutney sounds interesting too. As always, Yum!

At September 14, 2007 12:04 p.m., Blogger Ginnie said...

I wish I could be at your house this very minute, Christina, and help you out with eating everything pictured here. But I'm guessing by now it's all gone! :(

At September 16, 2007 12:09 a.m., Blogger susan d said...

You're killing me, oh to be your next door neighbor!

At September 16, 2007 8:49 p.m., Blogger Expat Traveler said...

wow - you've made my stomach growl!

what lovely baking. I might need to get to it also!

Inspiring you are!

At September 17, 2007 8:08 a.m., Blogger Cynthia Rae said...

We have, not one, but TWO plum trees. Can you come over and bake?


At September 17, 2007 10:44 a.m., Blogger Poppy Fields said...

I think I could live in Germany for the desserts.

At September 17, 2007 9:09 p.m., Anonymous tobias said...

Oh plums! Wonderful! But I know the feeling of drowning in something you initially love... My parents garden produce more rhubarbs than a village could eat in a year. We still love them, but never get anywhere near using them all...

At September 18, 2007 9:20 a.m., Blogger Betsy said...

Christiiiiiiiiiinnnnaaaaaaaaa! Where'd you go? (Yes, I'm stalking you...)

Can you come out and play?

At September 18, 2007 4:06 p.m., Blogger christina said...

I'm not dead! I'm just resting. :-)

Betsy - Did you make the dumplings? They're really easy.

TBF - Yeah, I've already finished off a jar of the chutney. Next time I'd use a bit more garlic and a bit less ginger.

katja - Thanks! I'll have to try that.

mar - I think that just might be a Lidl bottle! :-)

mollyb - Thanks for visiting. I can see you're really up on the legal paragraph thing. Been following your story. ;-)

maribeth - I'll be right over!

rositta- hope you got to have some dumplings after all.

lynda - We don't get the citrus thing going around here until December but I'm not really a fan.

tinakala - I think you need to invent scratch 'n' sniff e mail in your spare time.

angie - OK, plums, figs and sushi are off the list of Stuff Angie will eat. :-) I'll be looking forward to news about the BIG DAY.

Thimbleanna - It's not at all unusual around here to eat something like this as a main meal, sugar and all. Things like sweet pancakes and rice pudding are also served as a main course. Apricots are also great in dumplings.

Claire - On their own they don't taste that great, kind of sour, actually, but they turn sweet when you put them in cakes etc.

rubber duckie - You know, I've seen maybe five wasps this year - normally we have tons of them but not this summer.

michelle - The dumplings are pretty foolproof as long as you make sure they're well sealed so the filling doesn't get out.

ginnie - Yes, all gone but there are more plums in the freezer for whenever you come to visit! :-)

susan - Well, I'd bring you cake but you sure wouldn't want to see the state of my house!

Expat - Never too tired to cook!

cynthia - I'll be right over. :-)

poppy - Yes, well, the desserts sometimes make up for the rest of it.

Tobias - Yeah, I love rhubarb too but it's hard to know what to do with all of it.

Betsy - Never fear - got a post lined up for today!

At September 18, 2007 6:06 p.m., Blogger Jo said...

Hi Christina,
My name is Jo. I stumbled on your blog via Betty C's blog ("and so forth"). I'm a very good friend of Betty's sister. I loved reading your blog, it brought back so many memories... I was, emphasis on was, married to a German for 13 years and lived in Hamburg. My son, Nicholas was born there in 1992. I lived there from 1984 until the summer of 1995, when we came back to WA state. (I spent a year in Bonn, too as an exchange student) I am soooo envious / jealous that you all have the internet to stay connected with one another. When I lived in Germany before the internet boom, I was a completely isolated American with no network of support from fellow ex-pats. I wonder how different my life would have been had I had that connection?
Since my son has duel citizenship and grandparents who don't speak English, I applied for and got a Fulbright teaching exchange and ended up in the godforsaken "town" of Soltau last year. Nicholas went straight into Gymnasium there. It was a nightmare. He was so freaking miserable in that provincial setting with a Klassenlehrerin who was a total Schnepfe and kids who bullied him on a daily basis that he ended up becoming physically ill and we had to cut our stay short and come home in February. Luckily he got fluent in German before we left! If I had known there was another ex-pat with kids the same age that close by, I would have called you right away.
Anyway, it's been fun reading through your blogs ...especially this one. I have a million things to say about the German education system, now that I worked in it myself and had a child subjected to it! My ex-husband was a Gymnasiallehrer but I just didn't have the close-up look then that I got last year.
Well, I hope you don't mind if I read your blog from time to time and comment, even if you don't know me.

At September 18, 2007 7:16 p.m., Blogger CanadianSwiss said...

Glad you're having such a great time cooking. It all looks great! And I love the chutney idea.

At September 21, 2007 2:18 p.m., Blogger ColourMeCrazy said...

Those plum goodies look lovely!! I like the plum dumplings! mmmmmmm!

At October 01, 2007 9:11 p.m., Blogger Mike B said...

You can also use them to stuff a rolled pork roast and then use even more of them to make a plum-port sauce to cover it.


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