So, 4lb 12 oz mirabelle plums down, 7lb 12oz *insert species here* plums to go. (I’m not good on my plum species classification. We didn’t cover that at school…) They were that beautiful, well, plum, purple, flesh somewhere between yellow and green. But I’d had enough of jam-making for one week, so I had to find another option.
One of the things that I associate with autumn (albeit later autumn than this, normally straight after the first frost,) is Sloe Gin.
However. I have a problem: The Swiss don’t (seem to) have sloes.
In England, blackthorn (sloe bushes, Prunus spinosa, call it what you will) is planted between fields as a cow-proof barrier (have you seen those thorns?) Hedges are another thing that are pretty thin on the ground here, it’s a shame, because they give a lovely feel to the countryside in England, and are extremely good for the wildlife. But that’s a topic for another day.
I’ve asked my friends, I looked up the German word for sloe, (Schlehe: not one that crops up in every-day workshop conversation) to help in my quest, but I still have to describe the fruit, and even then they only come up with blank looks. Now I’m sure that there are sloes over here (in fact Wikipedia tells me that sloe stones have been found in Swiss lake dwellings) but they keep themselves to themselves. As soon as the weather gets colder I shall go on a more concerted hunt.
So, I decided, if the bushes of Switzerland won’t provide me with fruit for my favourite liqueur, I will have to find an alternative. I love the feeling that comes from the knowledge that there is some lovely liqueur maturing away in a cupboard somewhere. So, back onto Google I went, and eventually narrowed the vast pool of recipes down to two. Then off to the supermarket I toddled to get the required alcohol, and I carted it home in a rucksack by bike.
Plum Liqueur 1
This recipe came from here. I adapted it very slightly. I only had a small amount of vanilla extract, probably less than 1/4 tsp, and I added 5 or 6 whole cloves to the concoction, which just about fitted into a 1 1/2 litre “Le Parfait” jar. The most difficult bit is the “leaving in a cool dark place for a month.” The temptation is definitely to take it out and admire it every day, but I must be strong.
Plum liqueur 2
This recipe came from here, and is a similar principal to making sloe gin. No cooking involved, just combine fruit, alcohol and sugar. I used less sugar than suggested, because my plums were already pretty sweet, not the tart variety that they used in the original recipe, and I like a bit of bite to my liqueur! That went into a 2 litre “Le Parfait” jar with a bit of space to spare.
The remaining plums
A splash of water went into the pan with the stoned and quartered fruit, but that’s it. I don’t add sugar to stewed fruit unless it’s very very tart. I can always add some when I use it if I think it needs it.
I can’t wait to eat this on top of porridge in the coming months.. It’s nearly porridge season! That is the ultimate in breakfast luxury. Forget the Full English. I like something that is yummy and tastes good for me :)
Just look at that colour. :D
At the same time I cleaned all the little stones from the mirabelles, I intend to use them to make a fruit-stone warming pillow… A project for the future, but you need to start collecting stones early.