Sunday, June 28, 2015

Stormageddon's Reduced-Sugar Plum Jelly (Rambly!)

Wow.  You *know* it's been a long time when your browser no longer auto-completes your web-address to sign-into your blog!

Yeah.  Sorry.  Been busy.  Yada-yada!

Oh.  And this might get a little rambly, so better go grab a cocktail (or move onto the next webpage, or whatever)!

Yeah.  So.  About that "being busy" stuff:  A few weeks back, my College Bud-D, the one who retired early and ex-patted to Messko, came by to visit for a few days.  Sort of an early start to GGW 2015.  Her arrival - fortunately or unfortunately- happened to coincide with some dates that hubs was scheduled for business travel.  End-result, we got LOTS of "Girl-Gab Time" and managed to get (most of) it out of our systems before hubs came home!

The thing about CB-D is, she used to be a total "Mover and Shaker" in the business world, and I was kind-of always in awe of her for that.  Now one thing she did for herself (back in her Mover/Shaker Days) was to buy herself her Dream Car - a red Porsche Turbo Carrera.  She bought it - sight-unseen - on eBay.  From out of state.  During her busiest work-season. So she had to call her hubbie to buy one-way airfare to go pick it up, and drive it home for her!

"So what the hell does this have to do with Plum Jelly?" you may well ask...

I'm getting to it, okay?!  (Jeesh! I told you this might get rambly!).

Well, I too have had a Car-of-My-Dreams (several, actually!).  I have *always* had a fixation with 2-seat convertible roadsters.  Since before I could drive.  MG Midgets, Triumph Spitfures, Fiat Spiders...  Mercedes 450 SL...  Miatas...  You get the idea.

I did have a Geo Metro convertible (my ONLY "New" car).  3-banger pumping-out 55 horses didn't quite cut-it, but I *loved* that car!

My most-recent Automotive-Love-Affair has been with the Saturn Sky. I have wanted that car since before they were in production.  I read every website that talked about it, and even went to the Auto Show to *see* the Concept Car.

That was back in 2005.

I was sad when Saturn and Pontiac got jettisoned. And that - pretty-much - ended my hope of one day owning a shiny new Saturn Sky...

Well, before CB-D's arrival, for reasons I cannot explain, I happened upon a used Saturn Sky for sale.  In METALLIC RED. (Did I mention that 2-seat convertibles are ONLY lust-worthy if they are red?  Yeah. They *have* to be Red - "QT's rule."  "QT's Mom Bonus" would be Metallic Red!).  I wiped the drool from my keyboard and realized that this was before Memorial Day Weekend - surely the car would sell.  And I've got a guest coming, and blah-blah-blah...  So I let it go.

Well, WHILE CB-D was here (now after Memorial Day), I happened to consult Google and - Lo and Behold - little METALLIC RED Saturn Sky is still sitting in the dealer's lot.  But I've got a guest here, and taking a drive up to Fairfield (2 hours away - one way) would severely cut into cocktail hour!

I showed the webpage for the Sexy Little Car to CB-D and she was all "Why don't we go and look at it?"

Long story short (and trust me - I could drag it out), it took awhile - about a month (long after CB-D left) - but now, that Sexy Little Ruby Red Saturn Sky Redline (Limited edition - only 500 made in this trim) now lives in my driveway!

Ain't she sexy???

Hubs, initially, wasn't too pleased about the idea (and - to be fair - I have *far* too many toys with engines), but we're adjusting.  Every morning, when hubs leaves for work, it's like Tetris or something with shuffling cars about.

During the day, she gets to be a Garage Queen:

Shamefully-dusty Heritage Softail in the foreground
(one of the aforementioned "too many toys")

I'm still very much in "pinch-myself-in-case-I'm-dreaming" mode.  She and I have "bonded" in the twisties of the Santa Cruz mountains, and she told me her name was Stormageddon.  I'm good with that!

So that covers the FIRST part of this post's title!

Okay, so Stormy's arrival *also* happened to coincide with the Great Plum Assault of 2015.

June 12:
It was looking a bit overwhelming...
(clickety-click to embiggen and experience the full impact)

June 13:
Is it just me, or does this look like a RIDICULOUS quantity of plums?

Not sure exactly when I found the first "optimally squishy" plum and ate it, but the real "harvesting" started on June 20:

Round I
(just shy of 10 lbs)

June 21:
Round II
(13.8 lbs - according to the bathroom scale)

June 23:
Round III
(I assure you, the basket may be the same - but the plums are all different!)

June 25:
Round IV
(Yes, that's an egg on top!)

June 27:
Round V
(O-Dear-Gawd-in-Heaven! The PEACHES are starting!!!)

June 28:
Round VI
(19.8 lbs!)

Are you sick of looking at plums yet?!  Imagine how *I* feel!!!  And this is just ONE tree (the Santa Rosa plum).  I also have a Satsuma Plum (blood-plum - red all-the-way-through - and sweet as can be!).  Satsuma is still pretty young, so not very productive yet.  

So WTF to do with all of these plums, right?!   Even worse - WTF am I gonna do when I end-up with TWO insanely-productive plum trees???

  • I fed quite a few to the chickens 'til I damn-near killed Henny Kravitz.  She ended up getting a (thankfully mild) case of sour-crop! 
  • I found a handful of TRUE Facebook Friends who willingly took some off my hands - so yay for that!  
  • And the local food bank does accept backyard produce - and even gives you a receipt (double-yay!).  
But still, so far I've tallied up at least 72 lbs of fruit - from ONE tree.  I've managed to offload much of the fruit - but certainly not ALL.

Honestly, I'm sick of plum jam.  Too damned much work with blanching, peeling and pitting (Ugh!). The crock-pot plum butters, sauces, whatevers I attempted to make last year were "Meh" at best.

Prunes?  Hell no (Tried it.  Hated it.)

So this year's Great Plum Experiments included Plum Wine (20# makes 5 gallons!), which is gurgling and fermenting under my desk, even as I type (I may or may-not post about that - depends upon whether it ends up being drinkable!).
Annnnnnd...  Google told me that I *don't* have to pit-and-peel in order to make Plum Jelly!  So THAT'S how I spent my ENTIRE WEEKEND.  It was a boatload of work, but I gotta tellya - it's some DAMNED TASTY SH*T!

Annnnnnd...  Since I spent SO MUCH TIME staring at deep pinkish/plummy/garnet-like liquid, I came to the striking conclusion that Plum Jelly is damn-near the EXACT same shade as my brandy-new (used) car!

Hence the name: Stormageddon's Plum Jelly!

Soooooo....  I guess for my NEXT post, I oughtta maybe post the recipe, huh?

Yeah.  Maybe I'll do that!


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