Wednesday, August 15, 2007

I'm Plum Worn Out


When we bought our piece of property 28 years ago, it was an old prune orchard. Some of the trees came down to build our house, others were toppled by wind storms and a few were hit by UPS trucks or friends who said "No problem, I can turn around in there, just fine..."

What few original trees we have left on our 2 1/2 acres are known as Italian prune-plums. When they are commercially canned, they are always called 'plums.' But here in Oregon, we know better. Or at least, we like to think we do ;)

Italian prune-plums, sometimes called Empress plums, are technically Prunica domestica. They are a small, dense, egg-shaped fruit, with free stone pits and yellow flesh. Whether canned and labeled plums, purchased at market, or eaten fresh and warm off of one of my trees...they are absolutely delicious.

I once had some delivery men argue in my driveway, as they were helping themselves to the fruits of the tree's labor. One man asked "Are these plums?" The other man said "No, they're prunes." Man #1 says, "They can't be prunes, prunes turn into raisins." "No, Man #2 says, Raisins come from grapes." "Well," says Man #1, these aren't grapes."

I suspect one of the men was truly a Californian.

shown:
my first picking of prunes, otherwise labeled plums, but really prune-plums
a couple of stacks of my easy to make potholders on the side