There is a very uninspiring looking tree at the front of the shack in France, it’s clearly quite old and when we first got the place we thought it might even be dead. However, every August it produces a bounty of the sweetest and most delicious greengage plums.
In the early years, being townies and not knowledgeable about this kind of thing we believed the tree fruited on alternate years because….
There was no fruit evident when we arrived each year in August at round about the same time – not even a bud or a little rotten plum to be seen, so we laboured under the misapprehension that no fruit had been produced. One afternoon, a few years back, soon after we arrived, we had parked the car at the back of the house in the shade and were throwing together something for lunch when I spied a tiny lady getting a ladder out of her car and placing it against our tree. We wandered out to see what was up and the little lady looked very surprised….
It seemed that fruit was ripening just before we arrived down at the house, and she had helped herself to the lot! She claimed, she thought the house was empty but went on to give herself away by telling us how long we’d had the house (we are a little bit famous – or maybe renowned in our village for no good reason other than being English) ….
Back to the tale.
Little tiny aubergine haired Madame went on to speak with regret about not having some of the desired fruit and so being neighbourly, I fetched a large tub which I handed to her and told her she was welcome to pick some of our fruit. Aubergine Madame waved away my paltry offering telling that she had wanted all the fruit – she’s need several kilo’s for the jam she likes to make for her family. We shuffled around uncomfortably for a bit before bidding her farewell, she could have had some of it but she wanted ALL of it or none at all…
In the last few years, due to Rocket’s work commitments we have not been here in August at all and so we think Aubergine Madame is welcome to the fruit which I suspect she picks with great glee.
These fruits are really lovely and as with many things are so good straight from the tree. However, they do make the most delicious jam to and we’ve enjoyed that addition to our breakfast table in the winter months when we are dreaming of the baking August heat.
We use about 800g of preserving sugar to 1k of fruit, so as to retain a little of the natural sharpness and acidity. We also add a little apple to the mix. Everything goes into a large pan and bubbles away until it has reached a setting point – test this by putting a little of the mixture onto a plate, wait a few seconds then push it with a small spoon. If the mixture wrinkles and keeps it’s shape then it’s ready. Put into sterile jars.
Thanks to Squeeze for the title line.