dirty pumpkin seeds

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Happy Halloween!  Retrogrouch and I carved our jack-o-lantern last night, and got our scaaaaary on.  I am bedecking our porch with body parts, and he’s been nailed through the head.  Luckily, the injury wasn’t bad enough to stop him from the carving.

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For me, the best part of pumpkin carving has always been roasting the pumpkin seeds.  Each year, I carefully separate out the seeds from the goo, rinse them and dry them, salt them, and put them in a 350 degree oven.  Each year, I also forget about them and have to throw half of them away when they get too dark.

Last year, when working on the Master Food Preserver hotline, someone called in and asked how to make pumpkin seeds.  I started to give my standard schpiel, then realized that I could (and should) look up a recipe in our giant binder of recipes and techniques that are tested by our Extension program and others across the country.  And lo!  The Good Book shewed that she was in great error.  I was roasting the seeds at way too high of a temperature, hence the bitter charring when I forgot about them.

This year, I looked at the seeds with their pretty orange lacing of goo, and thought that I might capitalize on the extra flavor of the pumpkin pulp on the seeds, so I didn’t rinse them.  I tossed them in some oil with coarse sea salt and black pepper, then roasted the speckled, striped seeds.  And lo!  Dirty Pumpkin Seeds were born.  And they were delicious.  Even after I forgot about them.

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Dirty Pumpkin Seeds

This recipe doesn’t measure the amounts, since the amount of seeds one gets from a pumpkin can vary widely.  The larger jack-o-lanterns can actually have fewer seeds than the smaller ones.

  • Seeds from one jack-o-lantern
  • Coarsely ground sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Vegetable oil

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.  Carefully pick through the pumpkin innards to get all the seeds.  Discard malformed seeds and as much of the orange goo surrounding the seeds as possible, placing seeds in a clean bowl.

Do not rinse the remaining pumpkin goo off the seeds.  Add coarsely ground sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste, then coat the seeds in enough vegetable oil to make them slick but not dripping with oil (I used about a tablespoon).

Spread seeds out in a single layer in a Pyrex dish or cookie sheet.

Roast for about 45 minutes, checking occasionally, until light gold in color and completely dry.  If you forget about them, they’re ok for about an hour.  You’ll smell a gentle roasting smell, not the charring of burnt seeds, as a reminder.

They tell me the seeds will keep for about a week unrefrigerated, but mine have never lasted more than a day or two.

second-best blog!

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Thank you to everyone who voted for me for the Eugene Weekly’s Best Blog award.  I came in second!  The EW! Blog came in first and a ‘zine with which I was unfamiliar, Urinal Gum, came in third.  I like the idea of being between EW! and a urinal.  That might make me the urinal cake.

I also wanted to put the shout out (again) to Best Restaurant, Belly, and Best New Restaurant, Off the Waffle.  I did the write-ups for these guys, and I’m so pleased that they won, because I really do feel that they represent the best our little town has to offer in yumyums.

One more delight I feel I should share is in the Best of the Ballots category:

BEST WAY TO IMPROVE EUGENE

Fix the fucking bike lanes before somebody gets killed. Also, a Lebanese deli would be rather sweet.

Now, there’s a man/woman after my own heart.  My husband bikes to school, and I worry about him more, now that the rain is here and leaves are piling up in the bike lanes.  By the way, I’ve been hearing good things about the falafel at Mommy’s Pastrami and Falafel.  Not a Lebanese deli, but it might take the edge off.

 

something old, something new

DSCF4784This is short notice, but anyone interested in historic Oregon cuisine should check out the Oregon State University’s historical recipes showcase event tomorrow, Wednesday, October 28.  The tasting will feature desserts and other recipes from the archival collection of cook books…treats like trifles, fools and syllabubs.  The event will take place in the East Willamette Room on the third floor of the OSU Valley Library, from noon – 1 pm.

Slightly less short notice…my Master Food Preservers “Gifts in a Jar” evening course, the last one offered in the Market to Pantry series, is full.  We decided to open up an afternoon class that same day.  Both classes are on Thursday, November 19, and there are spots open only in the 1-4 p.m. class.

I’ll be featuring preservation recipes that fit in a standard canning jar, and will make great holiday gifts.  The syllabus is still being developed, but I’ll most likely be demonstrating a sugar plum jam or syrup from plums generously donated by King Estate, layered baking mixes, flavored vinegars, and a wonderfully easy almond brittle.

If you’re interested in taking the afternoon class, please give the MFP hotline a call at 541-682-4246.  Classes are held at the Extension Service Bldg. at the Fairgrounds on W. 13th., and cost $15 a person.  Samples, recipes, and goodies to take home will be provided.  We’ll also have pre-packaged gifts available: premium almonds (generously donated by the Hindrichs family from their Northern California orchard share) and amazing local Ennis hazelnuts, canned goods prepared by certified Master Food Preservers, and commercial grade clear-gel starch thickener for pie fillings and such.  All proceeds to go help keep the OSU Extension Master Food Preservation program alive.

humble beagle, top dog

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We’ve dined at Humble Beagle (next to Humble Bagel in Sundance Market’s plaza) a few times, and we’ve been pleased each time.  Although I still pledge my first love to Belly, Humble Beagle is another fine example of what Eugene can and should do in restaurants.  Humble Beagle is a cozy, weeknight, family place.  They serve burgers, pizzas and rustic dishes like macaroni and cheese, but where they differ from the dozens of other places in town serving these things is that they aren’t afraid to try utterly new variations.  One of the pizzas, for example, is a delicious Lebanese variation with ground lamb, minted labneh cheese, spinach and onions ($11).  Another, the Newport, includes smoked fish, pesto, capers and provolone.

Of the many things to like about Humble Beagle — the cute young couple running the place, the warm paint on the walls, ethical purchasing and seasonal produce — the flavor profile tops my list.  Ari, one of the owners, brings Israeli tastes to the table, and we see an appetizer of smoked fish and oysters, eggplant all over the place, and a hummus just slightly more bitter with tahini than we’re used to eating in these parts.  And it’s fantastic.  Anni, the daughter of the Humble Bagel owners, is connected in the bakery world, so we are treated to fabulous fresh breads — and a wide variety, too.  Even the desserts are house-made. (We sampled a vegan spiced chocolate pudding.  It was a bit grainy, but the spiciness and cocoa flavors were strong and assertive.  Don’t eschew the whipped cream.)

Look at these entrées.  No Steak Diane here:

  • Grilled skirt steak and fries with walnut salsa verde ($16)
  • Braised beans with honey and dill, served with ciabatta ($10)
  • Grilled fish of the day with bay leaves and smoked paprika, served with couscous and sauteed greens ($15)

Yum yum, yes?

Pictured above is a brimming bowl of seafood stew ($15), a tomato-fennel broth with white fish, bay shrimp, scallops and clams, served with garlic bread and a big glob of suspiciously white aioli (with sour cream?) that adds a jolt of flavor to the mild fish.  In the background is the vegetarian souk sandwich ($9), house baked pita bread filled with a gingery eggplant sauce and hummus atop hard boiled eggs and potato slices.  The mixed green salad is dressed simply with a red wine vinaigrette, but get this, it has garlic breadcrumbs — tiny, tiny breadcrumbs — mixed in with the leaves, so the dressing lingers just a bit longer.

Burger and Brew Wednesdays ($9) and Pizza and Pint Sundays ($9) are two nights worth checking out.  So are Everything Else is Excellent Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.  The restaurant is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.  Go.  You’ll like it.  The restaurant has a blog instead of a webpage (linked in the first paragraph here), so you can see the full fall menu there and some thoughts on the opening of the restaurant.

having my way with winter squash

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As we tumble into fall, all eyes turn to those fleshy orange squashes that we associate with holiday cooking.  Although I must say that I recently devoured a maple cream puree made with the grey squash above, I prefer winter squash dishes that don’t add extra sugar.  The marshmallow yam Thanksgiving casserole?  *shudder*

Sure, a little sugar heightens flavor, and a sweetener like maple syrup (especially the stronger tasting Grade B) can add nuances to the monochromatic flesh of squash.  So can smoky fats and meaty nuts.  When making roasted squash, I opt for olive oil and spices like coriander, cumin, and black pepper instead of the baking spices, or a Japanese flavor profile of soy sauce, mirin or sake, and sesame.  I like roasting because it creates different textures on the top and bottom of the squash pieces.

Pumpkin soup made with white miso is fantastic.  For Thanksgiving, I’ll sometimes make small cups of my kabocha squash and bacon soup.  The ultra-rich, smooth, dense texture of the kabocha makes particularly good soup.  Or add a little bourbon, and olive oil infused with rosemary and thyme, the ingredients of the world’s first perfume, Queen of Hungary water.  A couple of weeks ago, I made a lighter soup from sweet meat squash (the grey squash I’ve already mentioned) with fresh cream, zucchini shreds, and corn, flavored with the nutty Egyptian spice mix dukkha.

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It’s all good, as my students say.  To turn squash into a soup, you can either simmer chunks in water or chicken stock until tender, then smash up right in the same pot, or take the easy route and roast the squash in larger pieces (halves or quarters, depending on the size) with the skin on.  Brush the pieces with a little vegetable oil, then roast at 375 degrees.  When tender, let the squash cool until you’re able to scoop the flesh from the skin.  Much easier to manage than hacking off the uncooked skin, plus you get a flavor boost from the roasting.

When turning the roasted squash into soup, add a few cups of rich milk or chicken stock, and your spices of choice.  I won’t even complain if you add a little maple syrup and tiny pieces of bacon.  Or, if you cook up your bacon and then let it caramelize in some maple syrup, *then* add it.  No, I sure won’t.

super deluxe choucroute extravaganza

We shared a wonderful, rustic fall meal at Marché last night: Alsatian choucroute garnie.  It’s not really a meal for the light of heart.  Basically, it’s a giant mound of wine-braised sauerkraut topped with smoked and cured chunks of unctuous pork, several kinds of sausages and potatoes, served with mustard.

I have to thank Marché for this special menu.  I wish they’d do more of these simple, humble family-style dinners.  The price was outstanding for the quality of the meal, and the food was quite good.  The restaurant offers monthly French regional dinners, also a good value, but this was a beast of altogether different proportions.

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I don’t know how restaurant-heavy food blogs manage such gorgeous photos of the dishes that are served to hungry foodies.  I could only manage this:

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And I think I have a perfectly good reason, too.  Let me explain:

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You see, I was dining with The Fastest Fork in the West.  By the time I finished taking these two pictures, he had demolished the boudin noir, Strausbourg, and knackworst-y frankfurter sausages, a pork knuckle, most of the pork (not rabbit, as the menu says) rillette, the quick-pickled vegetables, duck fat potatoes, duck confit, three kinds of mustard (dijon, a particularly wonderful grape must, and plum), and that entire bottle of Sweet Cheeks 2006 Dry Riesling.  I was lucky to escape with a piece of frankfurter, a chunk of pork belly, and my life.

Do other foodies have these problems, these dangers, these Odyssean trials?  I wonder.

end of the harvest, end of the line

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I think I’m officially out of steam.  I put up two kinds of sauerkraut and more sour dill pickles last week, made chicken stock and ajvar (red pepper and eggplant spread) and went a little crazy with the dehydrator: dried bags of (commercial) green beans and corn/peas/carrots mix for soup, prunes, tomatoes, frozen sour cherries, and winter squash chunks.  The end of last week felled me with the worst cold I’ve ever had, and I stopped mid-pickle, mid-zucchini bread, mid-winter squash experimentations.

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My thoughts turned away from food and inward, dwelling on being sick.  I could teach a class on identity and sickness next term, I thought.  I researched it.  I slept.  My ears, head, and throat ached, but I didn’t feel like getting up for medicine.  Oddly, my sense of smell sharpened, and nausea came and went in waves.  I coughed and sneezed and slept and used up a trash can with kleenex.

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But I’m feeling better now, still weak and exhausted, but better.  I pulled out the summer squash and cucumbers, and pondered the green tomatoes.  Each year I make green tomato dill pickles, something I like best of all my pickles.  I don’t think I’m going to do it this year, though. [ETA: I did two pint jars.  That’s it.  Finis.]  We have jars and jars of dill relish that will last us through the year.  I composted the shredded zucchini today, along with the last of the cucumbers.  I’m going to pull the tomatillos tomorrow and harvest the rest of the dried beans.  And I’m going to stay in bed as long as possible in the morning and read.  Because I’m done.

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For now. :)

deli diaspora and the preservation renaissance

dscf0540New York-style Jewish delis ain’t what they used to be.  In yesterday’s New York Times, Joan Nathan reports on one family-run deli in Newark, NJ.  Hobby’s Deli still serves up traditional fare, but serves it to a changing demographic, due to new racial mixes in old Jewish neighborhoods and health concerns plaguing so many of the classics.   Delis have introduced salads (like with the green stuff!), and don’t sell nearly as many corned beef briskets as they once did.

If the traditional New York Jewish deli changes fundamentally due to changing customer taste, I’ll be sad, but also interested in how it will evolve in New York.  Like so many aspects of Jewish communities, deli food has moved on in other areas of the country.  My husband, who grew up eating Attman’s corned beef in Baltimore, chef d’oeuvre of one of two surviving eateries on Corned Beef Row, and my own salt-cured self, who scouted out any corned beef sandwich she could in the Jewish neighborhoods of suburban Detroit, are both products of what I call the deli diaspora.

I can happily recall the moment of rapturous discovery in each place we’ve lived when we discovered the local Jewish, or sometimes, Jew-ish deli:  Saul’s Deli in Berkeley, for example, or Rein’s New York-style Deli in Vernon, CT.  Rein’s Deli even has a glossary of deli terms.  (No, Totowitz, we aren’t in New York any more).  Saul’s, only a few blocks from our first house together, has always featured creative interpretations of deli specialties, but I see that they now specialize in seasonal foods, offering chard dolmas, chopped liver with tomato and onion jam, Moroccan chicken, and a side of long beans, almonds and white chard.  Hey, that doesn’t sound that bad at all to me.  A good cook is a good cook, and there are so many possibilities with the deli canon that it’s hard to believe that more hasn’t been done.  There is a huge and wonderful range of Jewish cookery, both Sephardic and unexplored regions of Ashkenazi cuisine, that would do very well in any deli if prepared with love and skill.

I know I’m usually wearing my Superior Oregonian hat when I talk about northern California (and almost always when I talk about New York), but we Eugeniuses have so much to learn from the Bay Area in terms of our local tastes.  I think even traditional deli would be seen as exotic here in Eugene, unfortunately.  But could we attempt a sustainable, local, deli-style restaurant?  Saul’s Deli surely is inspired by Chez Panisse, just down the street, as well as from Michael Pollan, who is a frequent customer.   In Eugene, we can similarly learn from restaurants like Belly, which makes French bistro new again in its seasonal, PNW-inflected dishes.

Saul’s has a lot to say about reinventing Jewish deli; you can read on the deli’s blog about their take on reviving traditions of Jewish vegetarian cooking, using sustainable beef, and reducing the size of sandwiches.  The Jewish deli, they emphasize, will not survive on nostalgia alone.

I couldn’t agree more.  After all, no one is particularly nostalgic about shtetl food, far more traditional than the deli.

But for those of us who love traditional kosher-style deli, we can keep some of the deli traditions alive in our own homes.  Joan Nathan seems to disregard the preservation renaissance when she writes:

In the old days, everybody cured their own corned beef and pastrami, made their own pickles, and used bread from a neighboring bakery. Now, few even make their own matzo balls.

This demise, of course, contributed to the rise of the deli and kept it flourishing in its heyday.  City life did not lend itself to the big crock of smelly sauerkraut in the studio or curing meat hanging from the ceiling of the bedroom.

DSCF2537But on the West Coast, where we’re preserving our hearts out, and even in some pockets of hip outer boroughs of NYC, where they’re acting like they invented preservation, the old days are new again. In Eugene, since we don’t have anything resembling a Jewish deli (although Barry’s on 13th does have matzoh ball soup, and my husband says he likes their other soups) and we undeniably make some sketchy moves (e.g., my tempeh Reuben and liberal-elite Reuben phyllo appetizers), we have to do what we can.

I thought I’d archive some of my deli-worthy recipes, so you can make your own deli at home.  I’m not a New Yorker, or an expert on deli food preparation, but I have to say my preserved food would give a deli a run for its money.  And yours can, too, because what I’m doing is not magic or difficult.

Here are some of my resources for making various deli specialties:

  • Kosher-style dill pickles.
  • Fermented full-sour and half-sour pickles.
  • Sauerkraut for Reuben sandwiches and soups.  Now is harvest time for fat, juicy cabbages, and if  you’d like to make red cabbage sauerkraut, the red cabbages are particularly good right now.
  • Brisket made with local dried cranberries and mushrooms.  This is my favorite brisket recipe.  (The other one in my recipe binder is titled “Traditional, if Dull, Passover Brisket.”)  I usually cheat and use prepared dried cranberries and mushrooms in this recipe, but why not dry your own?
  • Old-world chicken soup.  This often means “with cow bones added,” to beef up the broth.  My recipe is inspired by several old Jewish ladies, and one middle-aged one, who made the absolutely best chicken soup I’ve ever tasted in my life.  Mine’s not nearly as good as hers, I’ll admit, but I’m not sure if I’ve ever had a chicken soup in a deli that’s as good as mine.  They’re often washed out and watery.  Sigh.
  • Corned beef or tongue. I’ll be sharing my techniques at the October 10 Master Food Preserver meat class.  Please join us, if you’re local and interested in preserving meats!

I’d like to add to my repertoire in the upcoming months.  Here are my two quests:

  • Rye bread.  Polish rye bread, unseeded, is one of my great quests in the West.  I had to control myself when I was on fellowship in Buffalo because they had an entire shelf of Polish rye, freshly baked every day.  My project for 2009, to become an ace bread baker, did not even sorta kinda come to fruition.  OK, OK, I did help for a couple of hours at a fabulous MFP bread baking class, I put some baking cookbooks on my Amazon wish list, and I watched a friend bake bread in my kitchen.  Does that count?  No?  Really?  OK.  Onward to 2010!  If I can figure out how to make a Polish rye loaf at home, I will expire of happiness.
  • Potato pancakes.  We put the Ore- in Ore-Ida, yo.  Oregon potatoes are excellent, so excellent they were bought up by Heinz.  : /  But anyway, I’ll post a latke recipe this winter.  My recipe is quite good, if I do say so myself, but I am a latke purist, and I don’t even like onion messing up my pure, crisp potatoey pillows of heaven.  I’ll figure out the proportions and all that, but it might take a while.

DSCF2807And of course, you’ll need applesauce to accompany the latkes.  Don’t wait up for me!  Now is the time for canning and freezing fall apples as applesauce.  Homemade applesauce is about a thousand times better than commercially processed stuff.  I don’t have a preference, really, taste-wise, between canning and freezing, but a good, tart apple is essential.  Ask at your market which local apples are best for saucing.  I always, always freeze at least a cup of applesauce made with fall apples, since winter apples are kept fresh by cold storage, via a method that makes them reluctant to mush up nicely.

And that, my friends, is everything I’ve always wanted to say about deli.

apple cider donuts

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Post Secret:  I still pine for Michigan in the fall.

No, these cider donuts are not even vaguely comparable to the freshly fried cider donuts at the Franklin Cider Mill in Franklin, Michigan, one of the most glorious places of my childhood (and dare I say all NW suburban Detroit childhoods for over a century?).  Those cinnamon donuts, slicked with grease and perfuming the air all the way up to heaven, are a national treasure. But these Oregon ones are pretty good, and they are better than anything similar I’ve tasted anywhere.  I give you two views of my Saturday purchase:  one regular snapshot, and one via donut cam.

The cider is, well, still early.  The light color means they’re using early-season apples, which aren’t nearly as sweet and tart and wonderful as the mid-season ones.  The Franklin Cider Mill uses Honey Crisp apples.  In Oregon, we use whatever we have.  There is no real cider mill tradition here at all, but cider presses seem to pop up here and there in the fall, and if you’re lucky, you’ll find yourself next to one at a festival or fair.  I make trips up to Corvallis or out to Thistledown Farm in Junction City to buy apple cider that has been UV-treated instead of pasteurized (which kills the fresh, wild taste of apple cider in season).  Beggars can’t be choosers.  But they can shop wisely.

two plum jams: elephant heart and fellenberg

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Plum is one of those words I like to say over and over.  If we can (if!) disregard the sticky, musky juiciness for a moment, the word itself is full of goodness.  That initial ‘pl’ always brings good things to the party: play, plink, plenty, pleather, plots, plaster, plans, plugs, plants.  The ‘uh’ sound is always pleasing, like a caveman grunt, and the ‘um’ brings forth ‘yum’ and ‘om.’  Yes, plums are for meditating.

Plum and prune are related not only by desiccation, but etymologically, as well.  Both words come from Old English plume, which comes from Latin prunum and Greek proumnon. Ls and Rs, Ms and Ns slip all over the place across languages.  And we must not forget two homonyms, plumb and aplomb…also erstwhile words unrelated to plum.  Both come from roots in the Latin for weight, and a host of meanings associate with being in line, straight, and true.  By all accounts, plum is a word worth saying.

Plums can do more for one’s mouth than just sound good on the tongue.  I had never much paid attention to the so-called Italian prune plum until I saw it here in the Willamette Valley, and wondered why they used both the terms prune and plum.  “Aren’t prunes just the dried form of plums?” thought I.  Growing up in the Midwest, plums were plums and prunes were prunes.

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But no!  Prune plums are completely different from plum plums.  The honey-sweet, dense flesh of a prune plum is much better for drying than the rounder, plumper plum we usually eat out of hand.

I did some experiments this year with plum jam.  See my victims, above.  The prune plums are to the right, a Fellenberg (Italian) on the top row and a Brooks on the bottom row.  The bright red plum is an Elephant Heart, and the dark one on the left is a Pure Heart, a variety I’m guessing is related.

Elephant Heart plums are featured on Slow Food USA’s Ark of Taste, a program that catalogues rare and unusual foods grown/produced in America.  (As usual with the most widely known, East Coast-based food media, the list is very east-heavy.  Only one Oregon product: a pollinator cherry called “Black Republican” that doesn’t even taste that good.  Bah.  Add some!  I will as soon as I have time.)  Anyway, they have some revealing pictures of the plums wearing their white bloom.

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Elephant Heart plums are also called “blood plums,” according to the Ark of Taste.  My picture above, while neither as gorgeous nor as blood red as the Ark of Taste image, shows some of the veins.  More nice shots of prune plums, and recipes, are featured here and here.  Too bad they won’t be around for Halloween!

I made jam with these beauties, trying to keep them as fresh-tasting as possible, with only the natural pectin in the fruit and peel, and a few leaves of rose geranium thrown in for good measure.  The result is a deep red, plummy, soft preserve, with pieces of the fruit still intact.  I can’t wait to serve it with pork, cut with a berry vinegar perhaps, or mixed with some sauteed onion and a little whole-grain mustard.

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The “Italian prune,” also called a Fellenberg, is actually a German prune plum.  The name in German, Zwetchen, or quetsche in French, has none of the charm of the word ‘plum,’ alas.   Regardless, they grow remarkably well in home orchards and in local commercial farms in the Willamette Valley.   Anthony Boutard relates a historical anecdote that provides the definitive commentary on this matter:

Col. Henry Dosch, of Hillsdale, Oregon, was a tireless proponent of the Oregon Fellenberg Prune.  The late 1800s and early 1900s was the era of the great expositions and world fairs, and Dosch urged fellow prune growers to use these venues to promote the prune in the world.  He felt confident that consumers would soon [see] the difference between “the evaporated Oregon prune and the sun-dried insipid California prunes.”  Oregon prune growers never did bother to promote the fruit, selling them instead to the California fruit cooperatives, where stripped of their identity, they wound up as prune juice.  The prune orchards of Oregon are pretty much a thing of the past.

I became particularly interested in the Fellenberg this year because of the particularly bountiful harvest.  Our native Brooks plum (developed around 1930 in Lafayette, OR), shown to the left in the picture below, is a larger, paler, meatier, more picturesque form of the Fellenberg prune plum (on the right).

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Many people dry and sauce the Brooks plum, but I have to say that I prefer the Fellenberg for its apricot-orange-colored flesh, its sweetness and more complex taste.  Needless to say, both are a superior product over the ubiquitous dried California prune.

Christine Ferber’s jam recipes in Mes Confitures feature the best produce of Alsace, including the quetsche plum.  One recipe, considered so emblematic of the region it is called “L’Alsacienne,” blends the plum with local pinot noir wine.  Are you seeing where I’m going with this?

I present to you “L’Eugenienne,” my Fellenberg prune plum and Willamette Valley pinot noir jam!

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Yes, it’s mostly gone.  Because…yum!  I used plums from Thistledown farm in Junction City and Broadley pinot noir.   Ferber’s recipes are not safe for long-term storage, so I had to modify the processing instructions, but I did sugar the plum pieces overnight, and cook down the jam for quite a long time.  A few moments of inattention created a bit of char on the bottom of the pot.  It added a slight, autumnal bitterness to the dark, rich, pruney jam.

I think plum season is just about wrapped up, but if you do see some fresh Fellenberg prune plums (remembering they’ll be labeled as Italian prunes), check ’em out.  They’re worth it!