My aunt had one of the largest plum trees growing in the yard and when it bore fruit it was a sight to behold; our welcome time to pick one by one for our favourite snack, soaked plum.
It was as if we could hear the tree speaking to us.
“Have a taste of my plums…How about this half ripe one? …You like it? Climb higher, I have some ripe ones waiting just for you…..Next time bring some salt and pepper”…
One thing that stood out for me was that the plum tree was massive and there was enough plum for all of us during plum season. Talkin’ bout plum season remember they used to say “doh bore yuh ears during plum season or else yuh go get ah plum behind yuh ears” I wonder where they got that saying from? That’s a thought to ponder…Anyhow back to the plum tree….
Climbing the tree was a task in itself. As a boy, the wide gnarly trunk proved formidable sometimes for my small hands and the height of the tree itself bordered on scary. Nevertheless, I was able to climb up and hold on for dear life, never to look down, and still grab a few handfuls of plum to enjoy. And, if you felt adventurous you would have your salt and pepper, wrapped in foil, in your back pocket so you could have a feast on the tree.
That was the life…sitting on the crook of a plum branch, eating half ripe plum with salt and pepper, ever so often grabbing a few of the fruit, just at arm’s reach, only to continue: until you were full; upset by all that sour plum you ate; or until the salt and pepper ran out; Whichever came first hahaha lol!! Of course, while you were up on the tree someone will want a bag of plum to “soak”.
The Tasty Side of Soaked Plum
Soaking the plum is another way we preserve fruits. In this case, it’s more on the savoury/ sour side. The soaking involves a rather lengthy process, lasting a week or more, but it’s really worth the wait.
It never lasted long at home because we devoured it in about two days time while watching TV, talking with friends or cousins or reading a good book. As for me I even used to drink a little of the brine and have a go at the pickled pepper and garlic just out of curiosity. Note to self: Never try pickled seven pot pepper and then wipe your eyes lol!!
How to Make Soaked Plum
For the process the plum would be washed and small cuts made on them. Then the water, garlic, salt, pepper and chadon beni were added to a wide mouth bottle. It would be placed in the sunlight to quicken the curing process or sometimes buried in the ground. When complete, the plums would be light green/ brown with the seasoned, garlicky brine flavour permeated right down to the hard seed. Let’s see how Soaked Plum Trinistyle is done. Roll Camera!!
The soaked Plum Recipe
3 c plum ( green or half ripe)
7 garlic cloves
4 tbsp salt
1 hot pepper ( scotch bonnet )
10 chadon beni leaves
A glass bottle/s to hold the plums
Sterilize bottles with hot water and set aside.
Wash and mark plums lengthwise using a small knife.
Clean and crush the garlic and chop the chadon beni leaves.
Then layer by adding the chadon beni, plum, some cloves of garlic and a few pieces of hot pepper
Continue layering until the bottle is full
Add the salt and water and soak for a week or until the plums change colour.
Here I have mine basking away in the hot Caribbean Sun.
There you have it, a simple but effective soaked plum recipe like we made when I was a child. Do try it and tell me what you think. And remember not to pierce your ears during plum season lol haha.
Before I go I’d like to invite you all to the STC forums a place to discuss everything about Trini food, cooking and everything else in between. We even discussin’ Douen and Papa Bois. So come on over and let’s build the largest Trini Cooking Community online. See you soon.
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