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Unripe plums

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There was a post in the Wagon Train thread regarding plum trees and using every scrap of food.

It reminded me that plum and other fruit trees have a drop of unripe fruit.

Here are some recipes I've found that use those unripe fruits.


Green Plum Syrup -

500g Green (unripe) Plums (17.64 oz)

500g Rock Sugar (17.64 oz)

50ml Vinegar (0.21 u.s. cup)



Soak plums in water for 2 hours to remove bitterness, dry.

Sanitize airtight glass container, and layer plums, sugar, plums, sugar.

Pour in vinegar, cap, and shake.

Shake several times first day until rock sugar dissolves.

After 3 weeks, all the juice is extracted from the plums.

Mix 1/5 syrup to 4/5 water for a drink similar to sekanjabin.



(Georgian sour plum sauce) green tkemali, which is very good with grilled meats (esp. shashlik) and roast chicken.


For ~2 lbs unripe (sour) plums: simmer with water to cover until soft, about 10 mins (time varies w/size of plums).

Drain, pit and put through strainer or food mill, and return puree to saucepan.

Mix in 1 tsp chopped garlic, 1/4 cup each chopped fresh cilantro and dill, 1/8 tsp hot paprika and ~2 Tbsp lemon juice (more or less to taste, depends on how tart plums are).

Salt to taste, bring to boil and simmer 2 minutes; cool and store in bottles in fridge.



If your plums are not very sour, you will want to add a bit of the lemon. Two days after I made this, the two leftover plums had ripened slightly, and were even slightly sweet. And, of course, it is not every supermarket which can be counted on to offer such thoroughly inedible fresh fruit.


Tkemali keeps unsealed and refrigerated for several weeks, and the recipes , with pretty much the same quantities of ingredients, are said to make either 2 or 3 cups of sauce. I decided to make a small amount to try soon, and to seal whatever was left for later. With this in mind, I sterilized 3 half-pint ball jars. I wound up with 2 full jars-sealed, and one half jar in the fridge. I thought I'd let the fridge jar sit for a few days for the flavors to meld, and try a bit with the beans or a little hen this weekend. My finger-licking of the scraped pot told me that this is definitely sour enough. Seriously puckery.


And isn't this a pretty, red stained glass condiment? This is what you need to make it :

(Georgian sour plum sauce) red tkemali


plums, very unripe 1 1/2 lbs

water 1/4 cup

whole coriander seeds 3/4 tsp

fennel seed 1 tsp

garlic cloves peeled and chopped 2

salt 1/2 tsp

cayenne 1tsp

fresh mint minced 1 tbsp

fresh cilanto minced 1/3 cup


Sterilize 3 one cup ball jars. Cut the plums in half, cut out the seeds and put in a heavy pot with the water. Bring to a boil, cover and cook til soft- about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, grind everything but the green herbs in a mortar, to a paste.


Put the plums through a chinois or food mill and return puree to pot. Bring back to boil, add spice paste, and cook about 5 minutes, until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in the herbs. Pour hot into sterilized jars, and seal, if desired. Otherwise, store in fridge.

Tkemali is a really distinctive taste, and I wasn't sure what I thought of it when I tried it plain...it's very sour. And I say this as a lover of sour things to eat. It is delicious in the bean dish, though...I am looking forward to trying it with something grilled, juicy and crisp.* Have I mentioned often enough how I love plums? Stay tuned for more plummy developments.


*addendum-It was very nice with marinated lamb grilled on skewers, rice, and a salad of parsley and raw onions.



In Taupo, the plums I have access to are not yet ripe, but thought I could do something with them anyway. Both these recipes worked out really well!! I now need to decide if I should go back to get the rest as they are, and make more of the same or do I wait until they ripen a little?!?!


Preserved Sour Plums


1kg plums, unripe

500g sugar

300mL white wine vinegar

1 lemon zested

4 cloves

1 finger of ginger, finely grated

4 cloves garlic, peeled & sliced


Put sugar, vinegar, lemon zest, garlic & spices into a pan & bring to a simmer. Take off heat. In the meantime, prick the plums all around with a fork & add into the vinegar mixture. Bring back to simmer for 2 min & pour into sterilised jars & seal. Needs a few days for the flavours to amagamate. Spread as a chutney onto a sandwich of your choice, or onto meats. It is tangy & wonderful!! (just remember the plum stones are still in there)


Tangy Sour Plum Jam


1kg plums, unripe

500g sugar

4 apples roughly chopped, without cores


Firstly count the number of plums & make a note of it. Bring all to simmer in a pan & as the plum stones float, skim them out with a slotted spoon. Keep count and that way you'll get most, if not all of the stones out. As this takes a while, the jam should have reached setting point, so test it (I do this by adding a bit of jam onto a small plate & into the freezer for a few min, if your finger can cut the jam inot 2 halves, it will set). Pour into sterilised jars & seal. This jam is great for breakfast, if you like the tang, as a spread on meats or as an extra something on a sandwich.



Ume Miso (used as a versatile dressing.)

What you do is VERY simple.

You soak your unripe plums in water for 3 hours or more (or overnight) to remove the harshness and pat dry. fresh unripe plums and pickle them in miso and sugar. The proportion of the weight of the ume, sugar and miso is basically 1:1:1.

If you use 1 kg ume (unseeded), use 1 kg miso and 1 kg sugar.

That's it. Now some instructions on the net say Cook ume with miso and sugar, but others say just place ume, miso, sugar alternately in a jar and let it rest.

Of course mom and I went for the easier method. Mom said she didn't even stir it at all, but I do stir the paste once a day as recommended on some recipe websites.



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