I hate seeing fruit shriveling and going wrinkly in the fruit-bowl and fridge, and that is exactly what was happening to the plums that I bought in the weekend. I thought I’d get in quick and do something with them before they passed the point of no return.
It’s amazing how you can give something that doesn’t look like it’s going to last through the next few days a new lease of life, and these babies are destined for compote at breakfast and a yummy dessert for the weekend, hope there will be some left (recipe to come).
Yes, to some it’s far too old school to stew fruit, or reminiscent of the texture of baby food, and for others it will evoke memories of boiled muck that has had any taste removed by over cooking. For me there is something quite comforting about sitting with a bowl of “stewed” fruit, vanilla ice cream, listening to the sound of rain pouring on the roof on an dark August evening.
Nana and Mum called it stewed fruit but is it really? Or is it something different? I guess it depends on the outcome that you are after.
Poaching is a method where food is cooked in liquid gently at just below boiling point. Stewing is where the food is barely covered with water, covered and left to bubble (nearly boil) for a long time, and is generally served in its juices.
So with that said, I poached my plums. Incredibly easy, no fuss and a great way to use fruit that is starting to age in the fruit bowl But beware! You don’t want to use fruit that is too ripe as that taste will come though in the cooking.
With poaching you can adjust the sugar amount to your taste, and of course this will be dependent on the fruit that you are using. Recommended ratios are 1:2 sugar :water, but I suspect that this is going to be too sweet in most instances, NZ fruit is generally pretty sweet on it’s own because of all the beautiful soil we grow in and all of that sun.
I washed the plums well and put them into a heavy bottom saucepan. (Make sure they are no more than two high in the pot.) I filled the pot so it only just covered the plums, I think it was around 2 1/2 cups water, and added 2/3 cup sugar. I added a cinnamon stick and let it come to a simmer, and reduced the heat and let poach for around 15-20 minutes – until tender.
The skins will blister and may even fall off. Keep an eye on them, you want to take them off the heat when they are just tender. I removed them from the pan and then reduced the syrup down until it thickened slightly. Remove the cinnamon stick and you’re done. You can keep these in their juice in the fridge for up to two weeks, if they last that long.