Cherry plums are small plums that look like cherries (fancy that!) which grow all over the place in Victoria. I think the ones on trees with red leaves are nicest.
Unfortunately they all ripen around the same time (early-mid January), leaving you with a small window of incredible abundance.
Not owning a cherry pitter, in previous years I have tried pushing out the seed with an arrow shaft to separate it from the fruit, but it was time consuming, messy and not that great. If you have access to a pitter, you could try that, then halve and sun dry them, make jam, or bottle them.
Also time consuming, I have cut the ‘cheeks’ off them and sundried. If you cut downwards, parallel to the indent you will get the biggest pieces cos the seed is slimmer that way. Again, jam, dry or bottle.
This year, I found an alternative technique, using the microwave*. This will give you juice and pulp.
- Put your plums in bowl and nuke for a couple of minutes until hot and splitting.
- Put into a strainer and strain them as much or as little as you like. (I did it to the max to get out the amazing red syrup which we then used in cooking and as a drink. It is just like cranberry juice except not sprayed, packaged in plastic and shipped from the U.S.A. It is great mixed with soda (and vodka?). Can be used in cakes, in soups, jam, sorbet etc. It holds it colour and lasts in fridge for ages. You could freeze or bottle this juice if you can’t use it all now.
- Spread the remaining skin/pulp out onto greaseproof paper. Pick out and discard the pits and put out in the sun to dry, preferably covered with glass, which greatly magnifies the heat.
- When it it totally dry, cut it up with scissors and keep in a sealed bag. Add into homemade muesli or baking.
*(We were late on the uptake of a nuker. I would never go back to not having one now, it introduces great new scope to cooking technique. And its bloody convenient.)
(As always, these are ideas only, please ensure that you are happy with the safety of preserved food before you consume it.)