With this month’s musings of darkness, I think it is time for something sweet. As I was meandering through the produce section of my local market, I came across an unusual plum. Here they were called Empress Plums but when I grew up they were known in my family as Italian Prune Plums. They are one and both the same, a European variety of a beautiful dusky purplish plum with a yellow interior, that is outstanding for cooking. Needless to say I bought them all to make jars and jars of lovely compote for the months to come!
The photo above is from the website: Specialtyproduce.com. They have a great description of the health benefits of this fruit and and an availability app for any foods you desire, all over the country.
Italian prune plums are usually available during the end of summer and they are great for canning. Canning by the way is so easy to do and I always feel that these gorgeous jars at the season’s end are like jewels in my pantry. Whenever I see these plums it brings back wonderful childhood memories of my mother making an Austrian plum or “zwetschgen” compote. This compote is fabulous over ice cream ( non-dairy too) , crepes, toast, dairy free rice pudding and even cheeses. I have used these plums chopped up in a savory stuffing for chicken as well. Savory or sweet they are so versatile and often overlooked. The following recipe is so easy to make.
2 pounds of Italian or Empress Prune Plums
1 cup of organic unprocessed sugar. More if you prefer a sweeter taste.
1- 2 lemons sliced wafer thin and then halved.
Wash and pit all plums. Halve them and pull out the pits. Quarter the plums if they are too large.
Pile the plums into a large stockpot and set the heat on high.
Once the plums just start to bubble at the edges, immediately turn the heat down to medium.
Add the sugar and lemon slices.
Cook on a medium heat for 30-45 minutes.
This is what it looks like when loading everything into the pot.
The plums will release a beautiful deep purple pink color into the compote from all the healthy benefits of rich antioxidants within the skin.
Let cool and store in large glass lock containers which you can freeze or you can pour them into hot sterilized canning jars and proceed to can. That is what I do so I can have them all winter long. ( for canning instructions a general search online yields many sites: https://www.freshpreserving.com/canning-101-getting-started.html )
We always eat this at Christmas when making Dutch Baby Pancakes. You can also add brandy or fruit liquors if making as an ice cream topping. From my kitchen to yours… Happy Eating!