Where Wild Plums Grow
By LeeAnn Dalrymple
Research has shown that having a variety of foods for quail will encourage the growth of a native population and benefit a successful level of brooding. Research has also shown that having a source of fruit for humans will encourage the making of jelly and benefit the belly. What a win- win situation for Quail Country!
A native plant like the wild plums, in all seriousness, not only provide a food source to the wildlife but also a fun hobby for the stewards. It is fitting to share with you, now, about these wild plums, because they start to produce their fruits this month. As the blooms have already hinted towards the harvest ahead, the sunshine and rain are currently bringing the tart treat. Usually by Memorial Day, we are harvesting a plethora from the thickets of wild plums growing here at Quail Country. Perhaps with the unusual wet winter this year, the plums are already turning this season. The green colors we typically see this time of month are already breaching the glows of yellow, orange and some red. They make for a beautiful array of hues and prepare us for the exciting time ahead.
While the birds harvest the grounded plums, we reap the blessings of the ones still hanging on the branches. Some are ingested for quality control while the majority end up in a pot of boiling water. With a combined amount of too many years to count of experience mixed with excitement and a dash of passion along with sure jell, sugar and patience, jar after jar after jar is filled with a naturally tinted deep pink liquid that forms into wild plum jelly overnight. Each season, we are so thankful for the many natural blessings this land provides our families, our business, and our guests.
Wild Plum Jelly Recipe
(Allot about an hours worth of real time, from start to finish.)
1. Harvest wild plums (or purchase them somewhere locally) and try to remove the stems, leaves and dirt before the kitchen sink.
2. Rinse the plums and leave whole.
3. Pour what you can fit in a pot, leaving enough space for covering them in water.
4. Boil the plums until tender or bursting open.
5. Cover a strainer with cheesecloth (or an old shirt) and spoon the plums into the strainer.
6. Place the strainer back over the pot of juicy water and squeeze until all liquid from the plums are harvested. The skins and pits will remain in the cloth or shirt. (This is a HOT job!)
This is a point in which you can take a break. Refrigerate liquid if you need to postpone for another day or maybe even another season, than freeze the juice. The remainder of the steps become a timing and measurement game. Also, have your measurements ready before the step it is needed.
7. Measure your plum liquid so you know if there is water needed to reach a certain
measurement for the pectin/sure jell and sugar to work together to form the jelly.
8. Grab your pectin and add the desired amount to the fruit juice. Typically the pectin boxes
have jelly instructions. Definitely utilize their advice for desired amounts based on the
harvest of liquid, sugar, pectin and jars on hand.
9. Stir pectin and fruit juice and bring to a boil.
10. Add the needed amount of sugar to the pectin and fruit juice, stirring constantly and
bringing to a rolling boil. (The bubbles of a boil will turn into a raging boil.)
11. Set timer to 1 minute for a rolling boil to last then remove from heat.
12. Skim off any foam from the top before ladling into sterilized jars. (This will give you a
much clearer jelly and remove any chunks from the liquid. If the pot isn’t too
large, it is sometimes easier for us to pour straight from the pot to the jars for less of a
13. Wipe your jar rims off before securing sterilized lids.
14. We do not use a canner so we flip our jars over and let them stay this way until we hear
a pop before flipping them back over. (Usually this takes overnight to be sure all are
Enjoy and share this recipe with friends and family!