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What to do with... the end of a punnet of plums

Don’t let them go mushy. Make one of these delicious dishes instead!

Image: Shutterstock/Eva Daren

THERE ARE A number of varieties of plums available in Ireland- victoria plums, which are the most common, damsons, which are great for making jam, and culinary plums, which as you might guess, are best when cooked.

Plums tend to be a bit overlooked as a fruit, but they are one of the few fruits that have a low glycemic index score, meaning they don’t cause our blood sugar to have any unhealthy spikes. Like many other fruits, they also contain good levels of vitamin C and are low in calories. Just make sure you don’t peel them, since the skin contains lots of important nutrients!

Whether sweet or savoury, we’re all about the succulent sweet flavour of the plum! Here are our favourite ways to make the most of those last few plums in the punnet.

Plum and goats cheese salad: This salad is so simple to make and just an all round delicious meal! Slice the plums, place on a baking tray with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and olive oil, and roast for 10 minutes. Set aside while you make the dressing; mix together honey, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and finely chopped red onion.

Pour this over some spinach and toss until coated, and now all that is left to do is assemble the salad by scattering over the plums along with some crumbled goats cheese. Top with a drizzle of honey and some freshly cracked black pepper. Delicious served as it is or topped on toasted sourdough as a winter bruschetta.

Plum chutney: Chutney is an excellent way to use up leftover plums, and this recipe is the perfect accompaniment to a cheese board or toasted sandwich. Chop up whatever plums you have left over, along with some apples or pears (to make up 850g of fruit in total), and add to a large pot along with two chopped onions, a teaspoon each of ground mixed spice and cumin, 400mls of red wine vinegar and 300g brown sugar.

Bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer gently for a further 40 minutes, until the water has evaporated and the mixture is thick. Allow to cool then spoon into sterilised jars, and store in a cool place until ready to use.

Source: Shutterstock/Chiociolla

Plum clafoutis: A traditional French dessert that works well with a number of fruits, particularly plums. Firstly, add 120mls each of milk and double cream to a pan along with a drop of vanilla essence, bring to the boil, then set aside to cool. In a large bowl, beat 4 eggs with 180g castor sugar until fluffy and pale, then gently fold in 1 large spoonful of flour. Gently mix in the cooled milk and cream mixture until combined.

Thinly slice 5 or 6 plums, then place them in an ovenproof dish along with some butter and brown sugar, and bake for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and pour over the batter, then cook in the oven for a further 25 minutes until the eggs have just about set. Serve warm or wait for later, if you can resist!

Pork and plum casserole: Plums make a great accompaniment to meats like pork and duck. To make this casserole, make a marinade by mixing equal amounts of rice wine and soy sauce along with some grated ginger and 2 cloves of crushed garlic. Add chopped pork to the mixture, and marinade for a few hours, or overnight if you have time.

Drain the pork from the marinade (making sure to keep the liquid), and fry in a casserole dish with some onion, garlic and ginger. Add the liquid from the marinade, some chicken stock, a spoonful of honey and a few sliced plums. Bake at 150 degrees for 2 and a half hours with the lid on, removing the lid for the final 30 minutes. Serve with mash and some sauteed greens.

Plum bakewell slices: First make the plum jam by chopping up plums and adding to a saucepan with an equal amount of sugar, a cup of water and a pinch of cinnamon. Bring to a boil then simmer for 10 minutes, and set aside to cool. Roll out some ready made shortcrust pastry and use it to line a greased baking tray, then bake blind for about 10 minutes until golden.

Allow to cool, and trim away any excess pastry from the edges. To make the filling, cream 125g of butter and 80g caster sugar until light and fluffy, followed by 3 beaten eggs, a teaspoon of baking powder and 180g ground almonds. Spread the plum mixture over the pastry base, then spoon over the almond sponge. Scatter flaked almonds over the top and bake for 30 minutes at 180 degrees. Allow to cool in the tray, then slice into bite-size pieces and enjoy.

More: What to do with… the remains of the cheeseboard after the holidays>

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About the author:

Michael Freeman

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