Useful ways to use up your plums (+recipes)

By Amanda Laird

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There are so many ways you can cook with delicious and plentiful plums.

Fresh plum cake with yoghurt. Photo / Babiche Martens
Fresh plum cake with yoghurt. Photo / Babiche Martens

Plums are falling from the trees right now in the hundreds and, if you're lucky, they'll be falling in your back yard. If not, there will be a few different varieties available at your local fruit store to sample. Buy one of each available variety and have a taste.

Plums continue to ripen after being picked. Get your hands on as many as possible - they will last for two weeks or more in the fridge and are a beautiful fruit to eat as is.

Plums can be baked and then halved or sliced to top cakes, friands or muffins.

Plums grilled until soft and golden make for a delicious breakfast on their own or with a spoon of yoghurt.

Roast or barbecue until soft and caramelised, then pair with a generous drizzle of honey and a scoop of basil and lemon sorbet to create a delightful summer dessert.

They can be gently simmered with interesting ingredients to make a sweet or savoury sauce. Gently warm a sweet plum sauce with flavours of orange and vanilla, then spoon over icecream or drizzle over a cake. A savoury plum sauce can be flavoured with cloves, ginger and pepper to make a delectable sauce which will keep in the fridge for at least six months. Perfect to have on standby for sandwiches, grilled toasties or add a dollop next to the wedge of lemon on the side of the newspaper when eating fish and chips.

All varieties of plums are prepared in the same way for these recipes.

I chose to grill the large, fat, red plums from my local fruit and vegetable store, then picked the smaller, sweet, yellow-centred ones from the garden to slice and pile on top of the cake.

The plums which were ripening too fast and filling the buckets at the back door or - luckily - being dropped off to our cafe by locals, I used to make into a sauce.

You may need to tweak the flavours a little depending on how ripe the fruit is. Have a taste - more sugar may be needed.

I need no reason to make cheese straws which were such a favourite for me as a child. They're so scrumptious and they leave any commercial cracker for dead. I have used feta in the recipe and a little cheddar. The result is a saltier and crumblier cheese straw - delicious with plum sauce.

Chef's tip

When buying plums, look for those without wrinkled or split skin. Plums can be put in the fridge for a few days before cooking but if you want to eat them as is, let the fruit return to room temperature to enjoy all the flavour.

What's your favourite way to eat plums? Got any recipes to share?

- NZ Herald

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