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help identifying wild plum-type fruit

Posted: Wed Aug 29, 2018 5:18 pm
by jirwin2709
Hello,

A month or two ago I came across these hard green things growing on a small tree. I took one home and cut it open and it had something hard inside, I assumed a nut.

I've now noticed that these have turned a bluish-purple/red, and have gone soft. I saw that one was on the floor and so I stepped on it, and it has a yellow kind of flesh.

I am assuming they are plums, but they are a quite a bit smaller than plums you would buy in a supermarket. Also, I've read a lot since that suggest they could be bullace or maybe even sloes? I'm no pro so all of these new types are very confusing to me lol.

Is anyone able to help? I'd love to know what they are so I can know how best to use them. I've attached some pictures of when they were green and what they're like now.

Also, if I found a few on the floor does that mean they're ready for picking?

Thank you!

Re: help identifying wild plum-type fruit

Posted: Wed Aug 29, 2018 7:28 pm
by Flo
If it's a sloe you will have to contend with the thorns - sloes are the fruit of the blackthorn which is very thorny.

Re: help identifying wild plum-type fruit

Posted: Wed Aug 29, 2018 8:08 pm
by jirwin2709
I've read there could be hybrids though of two different varieties, one being sloe, so that you can have sloe berries without thorns. I'm only just learning so not sure if that's right.. but if it is maybe that's the case here?

Re: help identifying wild plum-type fruit

Posted: Wed Aug 29, 2018 9:45 pm
by Green Aura
It looks a bit big for a sloe, I think. It's possibly a plum, the fruit is a bit small but the leaves look right. Have you tasted it?

Re: help identifying wild plum-type fruit

Posted: Thu Aug 30, 2018 8:51 am
by jirwin2709
Not yet no, I will be later on!

Re: help identifying wild plum-type fruit

Posted: Thu Aug 30, 2018 11:11 am
by jirwin2709
I've tasted one and it wasn't sweet at all, was very very sour! Lots have either been picked or fallen off the tree.. I've seen lots on the floor so think it's the latter. Therefore I went and picked some, you can see the photo of them below.

If they're not sweet does that mean they're not plums? They certainly look like them, just smaller!

Re: help identifying wild plum-type fruit

Posted: Thu Aug 30, 2018 12:21 pm
by Green Aura
My guess is they're "wild" plums - as in a garden escape. They'll be small because they're competeing with everything else there for nutrients and maybe they don't get enough sun where they are to develop sugars? Are they soft?

You could put them on a sunny windowsill and see if they sweeten up any but I'm fairly sure plums do most of their ripening on the tree. It might be worth going back in a week or two to see if they're any better.

Re: help identifying wild plum-type fruit

Posted: Thu Aug 30, 2018 4:18 pm
by jirwin2709
any suggestions on what to do with them? If they're quite sour they won't really work in pies etc will they.. maybe jams or can you make a vodka or gin liquor with them like you can sloes?

Re: help identifying wild plum-type fruit

Posted: Thu Aug 30, 2018 4:43 pm
by Green Aura
jirwin2709 wrote:
Thu Aug 30, 2018 4:18 pm
can you make a vodka or gin liquor with them like you can sloes?
Abso-flippin-lutely you can. :lol:

I haven't made any in a while but basically put as many as you can fit into a container, pricking them first. Then pack as much sugar in as you can get in and leave somewhere for a few weeks, giving it a shake every time you remember. As the sugar draws the juice out of the fruit you might get room to add a bit more sugar.

If you start it now it should be ready to remove the fruit and add the alcohol by the end of October, which then gives it another couple of months to mellow in time for Christmas. How much alcohol you want to put in is up to you - how sweet versus how boozy! I'm sure there are recipes around with exact measurements of everything but no recipe knows how sweet/sour your fruit is or how you like it. :drunken:

Re: help identifying wild plum-type fruit

Posted: Thu Aug 30, 2018 7:13 pm
by jirwin2709
oooh thank you so much!!

Re: help identifying wild plum-type fruit

Posted: Fri Aug 31, 2018 5:38 pm
by Twizzle
I am pretty sure these are Bullace, a wonderful fruit. They ripen later than all the other plum/damson varieties, best after the first frost (yes, I know this seems odd at the beginning of September!). They make a great 'breakfast' jam, due to the tartness, and I have a fondness for Bullace Gin (recipe on www.sloe-biz) on a winter's night. Jeeves hunted high and low to find some for me, but sadly the farmer whose field they were edging has trimmed the hedge two rows in a year (sob sob!) Oh, and if you make the Bullace Gin, dip the (stoned) fruit into a bowl of good dark chocolate, melted over a saucepan of simmering water. Put them onto greaseproof paper to set....and send me some for Christmas :-)