On lacking “no good thing” ~ Psalm 34:10

It being an odd-numbered year, our plum trees have once again produced a bumper crop of tart, grape-sized plums.  It goes against my nature to let perfectly good fruit rot on the ground, so this year I decided that I would once again make plum preserves.  I stocked up on the essentials – jars, lids and rings, sugar, and pectin – and started picking.

I have carefully calculated that it takes exactly 3/5 of a bucket of plums to produce the requisite six cups of prepared fruit.  That’s a lot of tiny plums, many of which have blemishes that need to be cut out, and all of which have a seed that needs to be cut out.  Then once pitted, the plums have to be cut up into tiny pieces.  The most time-consuming part of making plum preserves with such small plums is definitely the cutting out and cutting up.  It takes about an hour and-a-half to do that.

But after our first two batches (which Scott helped with!), I had a brilliant idea.  We have this nifty new blender, and maybe I could dump the pitted plums into the blender and let it do the cutting up.  Which I did, and it worked magnificently.  Whew!  With that technique, I was able to get the whole procedure down to about three hours total per batch.

And we did six batches.

Which resulted in fifty-nine (59) 8-oz. jars of plum preserves!

Last time, with the wonderful help of Scott’s mom and Andrew, we put up 38 jars, but what with our eating them and giving them away, we ran out in January of this year.  Then Scott started mentioning our lack homemade plum preserves, his fondness for homemade plum preserves, and his desire for me to buy SOME kind of store-bought something to go with peanut butter. . . like maybe blackberry jam.  Which I did buy, but he kept talking about plum preserves.

Loosely calculating that at 38 jars (rounded down to 36 for easier figuring) lasting 18 months, our usage – either personally or publicly – was about two jars per month, and since I wanted this year’s batch to last the full 24 months, I wanted to produce something in the range of 48 jars (rounded up to 50 because that’s an easier number to remember).  Technically, I could have stopped with our fifth batch (total, 48 jars), but we still 3/4 of a bucket of uncut plums sitting on the kitchen floor, and I was two jars short, so I pressed on for another three hours and 11 more jars.

There are still loads of plums ripening on the trees, but the deer have been enjoying the ones off the ground and on the low branches.  I know this is true because 1) one evening, after washing the Durango, Andrew counted six deer munching away under the plum trees, and 2) they do leave evidence of their presence.  ‘Nuff said.

We took the rest of the bucket of uncut plums to our friend, JR, at church.  He said he’d feed them to his chickens.  At least, I think it was chickens.  Or maybe it was some other animal.  His family has chickens, ducks, rabbits, cats, and dogs, and they are wanting to get a milk cow. . . or was that a goat?  Well, anyway, we gave the leftovers to JR for his animals.  The ones still on the trees and under them are now officially fair game for critters and/or neighbors.  I guess some neighbors can be critters, as well, but thankfully none of ours are.

I have gotten all the canning stuff put away, and I’ve mopped the floor for about the fourth time in a week.  (Be it noted that when making plum preserves, no matter what precautions you take, the floor is unbearably sticky within the first hour.)

It was exhausting, but fun, and I do feel quite productive.

We have no lack of plum preserves!


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