Sunday, July 10, 2011

Sandhill Plums Ripening

   Sandhill plums are ripe now until about Aug. 15 on our farm.  This plum species (Prunus angustifolia) is a Western variant of the Chickasaw plum native to the southeastern U.S.  It's native to the Sandhills of central KS and central OK.  We took several "plum hunts" with our kids back in 1997 and 1998, selected superior fruits from the wild, and planted the seeds on our farm.  So now we have five rows of bushes where people can pick their own sandhill plums.
   Sandhill plums, like all native plums, are too small and tart for fresh eating, but make wonderful jams, jellies and sauces.  I love sandhill plum sauce in Oriental stir-fry dishes and with eggrolls.  Sandhill plums have a wonderful flavor with a hint of apricot, which is superior to the three plum species native to southeast Kansas: the American plum, the Munson plum, and the wild goose plum.  Those other three plum species impart a somewhat woody taste to jam; it's still good, but sandhill plum jam is better.
Sandhill plums have started ripening.  They make wonderful jam and sauce.

   Thornless blackberries are ripening later than normal this year, since they bloomed a couple weeks late after fruiting canes were killed back by -17 F temperatures in early Feb.  We'll only have about 1/4 of our normal blackberry crop this year, and the time of heaviest ripening will be about July 16 to Aug. 6.  We continue to water the blackberry rows, and keep praying for more rain.
'Triple Crown'  thornless blackberries are just starting to ripen.  Since canes were killed back by a  -17 F freeze in early Feb., we only have 1/4 of a normal crop, and most fruit will be low on the plants.