If you are looking for plums, Mair Farm-Taki at the University and Columbia City Farmers Market probably has what you are looking for. Last Saturday they had Green Italian, Easter Egg, Italian Prune, Sweet French, President, Friar and Damson plums. Since I’m not familiar with most of these varieties or even with plums in general, my dilemma was what to try. Luckily, they had a small bag of wild plums, all different colors so worthy of a still life, I had to buy them if for nothing other than their sheer beauty.
I put them in a bowl and admired them for a few days until our resident fruit flies had a population explosion. I couldn’t wait any longer but unfortunately I didn’t have enough to dry, make jam or even a tart. I decided to wing it and make a tangy wild plum sauce to serve with a couple of pork chops I was pan-frying for dinner.
This is the type of sauce that you can be very nonchalant about what ingredients you add since it covers just about all bases on the flavor spectrum — tart, sweet, spicy and salty — the balance is up to you. I tend to shy away from food that is very sweet, so I held back on the sugar in favor of the naturally tart plum. The size of wild plums is similar to large cherries so I used my cherry-pitter and it worked perfectly. The color of the finished sauce was so intense, if I hadn’t made it myself I would have suspected someone had slipped in some artificial coloring.
Here is my version of Wild Plum Sauce.
Wash and pit 2-3 cups small wild plums. Place in a mixing bowl. Sprinkle 1T sugar on plums, mix together and let it sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.
Meanwhile melt 2T butter in a skillet. Once it is melted, saute until soft 1/2 chopped medium onion, 1 minced garlic clove, 1 small hot pepper or red pepper flakes, 1T grated ginger.
Add the plum mixture along with 1T soy sauce, 1T brown sugar, and 1/2 t salt.
Simmer until it has thickened. Let it cool down and run through a food mill to remove any remaining skins if you want a very smooth sauce.
If you need more liquid you might consider adding lemon juice or apple cider vinegar.