I’ve written about the au cas où bag before: that little shopping bag or some such that you tuck into your pocket before any walk, au cas où you find something worth harvesting or talking home. It was as well we had that bag yesterday. Walking in the fields above Laroque, we found 2 mirabelle trees, their tiny juicy fruits just turning to golden ripeness. We harvested what we could, and came home.
Then we remembered the trees we’d seen one previous year on the road between us and Léran. We went home for another bag and hunted out those mirabelle trees lining the route.
Hundreds of plums, thousands of plums, millions and billions and trillions of plums – to misquote that much loved picture book by Wanda Gagabout rather a lot of cats. Reader, we picked them – some of them anyway. We came home. And this is what we made. With a few of them, anyway.
Mirabelle and Rosemary Jam
I kg mirabelles
400g high-pectin sugar, or add pectin powder according to pack instructions to granulated sugar.
4 rosemary sprigs, each approx 5 cm long
- Put mirabelles, sugar, rosemary and vanilla pod in a preserving pan and bring slowly to the boil, so the plums have chance to release their juices.
- Simmer briskly for about 7 minutes. It’s not necessary to bring it to jam setting temperature as the pectin will do its work, and it’s a fresh flavour you’re aiming for. But the jam won’t keep long outside the fridge.
- Take from heat and remove rosemary sprigs and vanilla pod. This is important. If you leave the herb in, the jam will taste medicinal. The hint of rosemary should remain elusive, and just add that extra Mediterranean je ne sais quoi
- This is the bad bit. You could have halved the plums before you started and removed the stones then. But I think it’s marginally easier to fish them out now. Only marginally though. The choice is yours……
- Add vanilla seeds from the pod and mix.
- Fill your ready-prepared jars.