The brave pioneer families that inhabited this mountain wilderness built modest wood cabins from felled timber. Some raised a few head of cattle and kept chickens for eggs. When times were tough, many survived on the bounty of wild game. They also tilled the rocky soil to grow and harvest their own prized fruit and vegetables.
Eventually, the brutal, unpredictable Winters proved too hostile. It forced the homesteaders to sell their Dream and move down to lower elevations with more forgiving temperatures.
When large cattle ranchers began buying up the 100 acre homesteads, most of the crude cabins were burned down to discourage squatters. A little piece of history was lost... almost forgotten.
There was, however, one thing these pioneers left behind that said "We were here"...
Naturally scattered pits embraced life and sprouted Wild Plum (and apricot) trees in the most unusual places. Their tenacious survival is, at once, simplistic and inspiring.
The wild fruit is small compared to commercially cultivated Plums, but they are just as juicy and delicious, albeit a little more tart. ;-)
The plums are harvested in late Summer at the peak of juicy ripeness. We have use ladders because the deer and bears always get first dibs. ;-) Some years the fruit is plentiful, others years... not so much. The harvest is usually small, but so worth the effort.
Wild Plum Jam is a homemade treat that money cannot buy. It's reserved for our traditional Thanksgiving Dinner and there's little (if any) left over after the holidays.
Thanksgiving is still a few months away, but my husband was more than willing to eat the biscuit and Wild Plum jam pictured. I quietly hid the rest away in the refrigerator... out of sight, out of mind as they say. ;-) Otherwise, it would mysteriously disappear and our Thanksgiving Dinner just wouldn't be the same.
Thanks for reading this far. Making natural Wild Plum Jam is so easy... I hope you think it was worth the wait!
3 simple Ingredients:
- Wild Plums- approximately 3-4 cups
- Rinse the plums well. Put them in a saucepan. Add just enough water so they float.
- Bring the water to a boil. Boil a few minutes until the plums burst from the skin. Cover and remove from heat.
- Cool to room temperature. Do NOT drain or discard the water. (It will be red from the plum skins)
- When the plums are cool enough to handle, use your fingertips to slip the skin from each plum and remove the pit. Put the plum meat back into the saucepan with the water. Continue until all off the plums are skinned and pitted.
- Put the saucepan with plum meat/water back on the stove and bring it to a boil.
- Slowly add 1/2 cup sugar to the boiling plum water. Stir and reduce the heat.
- Simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally until the jam water is reduced to a thick syrup consistency.
- Check the taste carefully. It will be hot!
- Add more sugar and water if needed. Be sure to simmer so the sugar is melted.
- When the jam has a thick consistency and you are happy with the sweetness, remove the pan from the heat and cover it.
- Let it cool to room temperature.
- After cooling, check the taste and texture. If the jam is too thin, put it back on the stove to simmer it longer. If it's too tart, add more sugar. Don't forget to simmer again so the sugar is melted.
Thanks for visiting my Instructable!