Plum Job

Beach Plum Fruit

Beach Plum Fruit

The good news is: plums are now in season! The plum is such a luscious fruit that in the English language a secondary meaning of its name is “something superior or very desirable,” like plum jobs as well as sugar plums and plum pudding.

Our forefathers on Plymouth Rock turned up their noses at native American wild plums, including the beach plum that still grows in some profusion along the Atlantic coast. They had brought their own plum tree seeds from Europe where they had been cultivated for 2,000 years.

The prized plum, known in England as the Greengage, is in France called the reine-claude, named after the famously fat (and often pregnant) Queen Claude, who was very fond of this fruit.

However, the naming was not so much in her honor as she might have thought. It’s said that the reine-claude got its name because the plum’s stem to stern cleft shape reminded her courtiers of her royal backside.

Here’s the recipe for the plum compote I made yesterday.

Serves 4

2 pounds red or black plums, halved and pitted

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup water

Rind and juice of 1 orange

1/2 cup port wine

2 tablespoons red currant jelly

I teaspoon almond extract

Put all the ingredients in a saucepan. Cover and simmer over very low heat for 15 minutes.

Serve warm or chilled with (of course) whipped cream or ice cream.

That’s what I call a plum job!