I went back to the plum tree with Nicholas before he jetted off to Zurich, and the two of us collected a good eight pounds or so of plums that had fallen to the ground. We worked quickly, to be able to then fetch our daughter at the end of her last day of school. Yes, school was still going on for her last week, the end of JULY, egads. In New York, school would have ended five weeks earlier. Somehow, it doesn’t feel interminable, though. Perhaps because she didn’t start school until the Spring, perhaps because we don’t have the ridiculous humid heat of a Hudson Valley summer, but it was somehow okay to still be going to school in July. Curious, for I had thought it a horrifying thought when we first moved here.
Out of that batch of plums, I made jam and cordial as soon as we got home. Here are the plums cooking away. What a color – red skins that soon stain the yellow flesh inside.
Cordial is such an English thing. European, perhaps. I remember being confused by it in France when we went as children. My mother traveled there several summers to study and would bring my brother and me with her to experience the culture she loved so dearly. Everyone had “sirop”, syrup made from different fruits, but it was completely unfamiliar to our American tastebuds. It’s standard here in England too, and I decided to make our own from these juicy plums.
After cooking the plums, I put them in large square of muslin and tied it to a cupboard handle overnight. What liquid dripped out, I then added honey to, cooked it up some more, and voilà – cordial.
Then I had to sort through all the plum matter and remove all the teeny pits (“pips” in England). I may find a use for those too…
The cordial is delicious, a deep red color, and nice blend of tart and sweet. I hope it keeps a while, to enjoy in cooler months.