Queen Claude

When we first decided to buy fruit trees for our teeny garden at the back of the house, I set my heart on something called Reine Claude, a sweet, grass green plum that I’ve rarely seen in a Toronto store.

But an internet search offered nothing in the way of Ontario suppliers of greengage trees, and Green Barn Nursery, where we bought two chum bushes (cherry-plum hybrid) and one plumcot tree (plum-apricot hybrid), said they were too disease-prone to be worth selling in this part of the world.

So when the shops in Munich offered Reine Claude plums on my visit there last week, I decided to risk making a mess of the kitchen, and trying my hand at jam.

Greengage jam, to use their less fancy, English name, turns out to be an easy set and a pretty yellow-green, with chunks of fruit suspended in syrup.

I was missing all the normal jamming stuff — no funnel, no Bell jars, no measuring cups, no preserving kettle. But I still ended up with 2-1/2 jars of slightly sweet runny jam with chewy chunks, and a kitchen that didn’t take too long to clean up afterward.

Greengage jam
generous 3 coffee mugs stoned and quatered greengages (Reine Claude plums)
skimpy 2 coffee mug sugar
juice of one lemon

Simmer until the sugar melts. Boil until the jam sets. Bottle.

Next time I simmer the fruit in a little water first, to soften the skins, and I cut the sugar (or up the lemon juice). Chopping the fruit a little more finely would probably help as well.

Oh wait. There won’t be a next time. No easy access to greengage plums.

Anyone know of a Reine Claude fruit (not tree) supplier in Ontario?

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