When my wife and I headed over there we, well I, wanted to take a look at their yard & garden since we hadn't been in the back yard for months. A surprising discovery was a small fruit tree they weren't aware they had. Now if this was my parents property I could understand because they have hundreds of acres and an actual orchard, but a surprise fruit tree in a small quarter-acre lot (I have no idea how big it is...but they live in town so....) when you've lived in the home for 30+ years.....
Evidently what they thought was a "regular" tree was actually a fruit tree that produced only after some generous tree-trimming the year prior. There was some debate on the age of the tree, but the general consensus was that it wasn't planted by them and was actually a "volunteer" that grew on it's own. The yard is a decent size and they've done a lot to encourage the birds and squirrels so it is possible. The cherry-sized fruit looked ornamental to them and on some sort of dare they tried it out.
I tried one as well and when they asked me what it was (my folks own the orchard, I never grew up there....) I responded, "Cherry Plum", as if I knew what the hell I was talking about. Well evidently a Cherry Plum is actually a thing and they've got one. The fruit tastes like a plum (duh, it is one!), but there is a sour component to the skin. The small pits aren't "free", which means that removing the flesh is a PITA. Great for picking a few to eat on the spot, but not so much for anything else, or so it would seem.
My Father-In-Law is diabetic, type stick a needle in yourself (1?) and they (In-Laws) don't eat a ton of fruit or sweets, so I was offered up the Cherry Plums they'd already gotten and any more that I wanted. Now I'm not stupid, nor overly proud.....I'll take free food almost any day, especially if it is good. I went over the next day 2nd thing in the morning (a guy needs his breakfast) and picked everything I could. It wasn't a large tree and almost all the fruit was accessible by ladder. Not even an hour later I had pretty much picked the tree clean of about 2 gallons of fruit.
|Way too much water...|
|Juice is only starting to flow...|
....though my mom makes a bazillion batches of jelly & jam every year to sell at the farmers market (they have an actual orchard).....
Some of the interweb instructions mention trying to pull the pits out with a pair of slotted spoons. Either they are using a different type of Cherry Plum, or they are freaking Fruit Ninjas because I couldn't do squat getting those pits out, at least that way. I thought maybe I'd have to jam everything in the press bag I use for making Almond Milk, but then remembered I had one of those food mills.
|Genuine Foley Food Mill|
|In jars because I thought I'd make jelly another day|
Now since I've got three burners going and sterilizing the jars in the oven (I normally use the dishwasher's sterilize feature, but it is acting up) I don't seem to have enough hands as it is, so no pictures. For the most part just follow the instructions for making/canning jelly from the pectin box, deliberate modifications to the recipe not withstanding.
For really only a few hours of effort, not counting the still un-finished kitchen clean-up, I ended up with 18+ half-pints of jelly (the last half-pint+ is in the fridge) and two pints of plum sauce. This morning I tried the bit from the fridge and it was a bit tart, but quite tasty. I'm glad I didn't use the full 14 cups of sugar on this.