July 2012 marked 13 years since I opened CasaLana. Part of my attraction to the property was the grove of fruit trees – apricot, apple (5), fig (6), peach, pear, plum and cherry – all summer favorites. I’ve noticed over the years that the trees have a really abundant yield every other year. Well, this year the Santa Rosa plum tree has given more than I can ever remember. There must have been literally hundreds of pounds of plums, the most abundant of summer favorites.
The dilemma is what to do with so many plums that ripen within a 3 – 4 week period. I can’t bear to see it go to waste so I turn it into everything imaginable – jam, conserves, compote, syrup and chutney. I also puree the fruit and strain the raw, unsweetened pulp. I freeze that to use as a base for sorbet, sauces, glazes, syrups, etc. And of course, the CasaLana breakfasts and class menus feature whatever is currently available from the garden and orchard. So plums will find there way into relishes, glazes, compotes and more. There are some many options to create ‘harvest’ classes using the fruits and vegetables from CasaLana gardens and the local farmers’ market. We’ll use plums or the plum conserves in desserts like the crostatas or sorbet.
Since it takes a lot of time to process hundreds of pounds of plums, I’ve been donating the surplus to some local restaurants. You’ll find dishes with the plums on the menus at Solbar, Brannans Grill and All Seasons Bistro in both savory and sweet dishes.
Next up in the orchard – apples and figs, YUM!