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Reine Claude (Green Gage) Plums by Anne Fashauer

My aunt and uncle had a small orchard outside the house where I now live and in that orchard are two plum trees that occasionally deliver some of the tastiest plums around - green gage plums. I remember my father loving them for their sweetness. My beau let me know that this year would have an exceptional harvest, so I went online and Googled “green gage plums” and found out that they are also called Reine Claude plums. I also found a delicious plum jam recipe that is very simple — plums, sugar, lemon juice and vanilla. I am not crazy about overly sweet jam and jelly, so I cut the sugar in half and the result is a delicate jam with plenty of sweetness and yet that touch of tart that reminds you that you are eating plums. The recipe called for using two pounds of plums per batch, so I did two batches; each batch yielded three and a half half-pints. It is not a quick process - you let the prepared plums (chopped and pits removed, skins in place for the pectin) sit for an hour with the sugar and lemon; then you add the vanilla and cook the whole thing down to the consistency you like. While I was doing the two batches I also baked two zucchini breads, made two batches of grape jelly (from our Zinfandel grapes — I had made the juice last fall and canned it, so just had to make the jelly), and canned seven quarts of pickled green beans. I probably have enough plums left to make two to four more batches — when I find the time!

While I was busy doing all of this, my beau was outside, canning albacore. He's been going out a lot and coming back with a good amount of fish each time. He has canned 14 cases (pints) of albacore so far. The whole house (and the garage where he does his prep work) all have a fishy smell, but all will be forgiven when we open those jars this winter and enjoy “tuna” sandwiches. At least his is an outside process, with the pressure canners working full time on the propane stove out back. This coming week I will be preparing for all the baked goods I will be entering in the fair this year. I'm doing my usual - cookies, cake, bread, biscuits, and maybe one or two others. I also have some things I've canned over the past year (tomatoes and the like from last fall) and will be entering those as well. My beau is also planning to enter lots of his veggies again. We're looking forward to another fun fair this year.

Now I'm off to chop plums.

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