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Season's Eatings

07/05/2012 07:58AM, Published by Style, Categories: In Print




WHAT’S IN SEASON NOW:

Juicy, sweet plums!

Nothing says summer quite like the taste of a Placer County grown plum. This soft, smooth-skinned fruit – with its sweet flesh and flat, pointed seed – exists in a panorama of colors and varieties, including: Santa Rosa, Blackamber, Frontier and the green-skinned Kelsey.

DID YOU KNOW?

Plums are often referred to as stone fruits because of the pit, or stone, that is found inside its flesh. The term “stone fruit” was coined when hard, un-ripened fruit was thrown at those awaiting public execution during the Middle Ages. Plums belong to the Prunus genus of plants and are related to peaches, nectarines, apricots and cherries.

Plums can be purchased at a variety of Placer County locations; in Auburn, head to Amber Oaks Raspberries, Boorinakis Harper Ranch or Machado Orchards; in Lincoln, check out Beauty Ranch; in Newcastle, Brenner Ranch, Burgeson Family Farm or Twin Peaks Orchards; in Penryn, Colwell Thundering Herd Ranch or Willow Creek Ranch; in Loomis, Nitta Ranch; and in Granite Bay, Otow Orchard.

SELECTION AND STORAGE:

The best plums are unwrinkled and free of blemishes, soft spots or discolorations. Plums that are ready to eat are those that yield to soft pressure. The fruit can range in color, from green to red or deep purple to almost black. The skin is edible with the pit discarded. If the plum seems a little hard, leave it at room temperature for a few days to soften up; however, be aware that it will not actually ripen further and develop more sugar like some fruits. Ripe plums can be refrigerated and should be washed just before eating.


For more information about PlacerGROWN and the Foothill Farmers’ Market Association, visit placergrown.org and foothillfarmersmarket.com.

 

Plum and Ground Cherry Pie

Serves 8

Preheat oven to 400°

Two crust pie dough for 9-inch pie

  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1/4 cup cold butter
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar (mix with cinnamon)
  • 1 tsp. Demerara sugar (optional)

Use a dough cutter to blend shortening, butter, flour and salt to cornmeal stage. Slowly add water, mixing with a fork until dough comes together. Add more water if needed. Form into a ball, cover and chill 2 hours before rolling out. Cut the dough ball into 2 pieces, one slightly larger than the other. Roll out on floured surface until 1/8-inch thick. Make dough 10 inches for bottom, and 9 inches for top. Place filling in shell. Apply top crust. Trim, roll and crimp edges. Score dough 6 or 7 places. Sprinkle top with cinnamon sugar mixture, then Demerara.

Filling

  • 3 cups dark red plums, sliced
  • 2 cups ground cherries, husk removed
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup tapioca flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp. cold butter

In a large bowl combine plums, ground cherries, sugar, tapioca flour, salt and lemon juice. Stir gently and let stand 20 minutes. Stir again, and spoon mixture into pie shell and place daps of butter over fruit. Cover with remaining dough. Bake pie until juices are bubbling on the edge of the crust, about 50 minutes.


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