It’s the jam…or uh…jelly
Chickasaw plum, Prunus angustifolia, sandhill plum, or more commonly sand plum. I am crazy passionate about many things in life and sand plum jelly is one of those things.
Sand plums can only be harvested one time of year and that time of year is now, so this past Saturday I along with my dad, Steve, and husband, Beau, spent fourth of July evening scouring the roads near where I grew up for ripe sand plums. The normal thicket that I harvest at is less than a mile from my childhood home, but this year the plants didn’t seem to produce any fruit. I found myself with a mere 3 sand plums. If you’ve never seen a sand plum, they are about the size of a nickel. So three doesn’t cut it. Last year I took Beau on his first ever sand plum harvest and he immediately expressed his dissatisfaction for picking these tiny plums, but now we find ourselves one year later and he seems slightly more eager.
With the sun starting to set there was little time to waste. My father took the wheel and off we went at a 40 mph crawl…I urged him to proceed with haste as Beau and I were headed back to Oklahoma City in the morning and this was our last chance to snatch up the bounty before finding ourselves back at home facing the grind of city life. As we continued down the country roads we saw several sand plum thickets, but little fruit.
As we drove along we hopped out of the car around a half a dozen times to snatch a scant amount of plums. I was starting to think that this year would go down as the year we didn’t have any sand plum jelly! The horror. My dad assured me that we would find some if we drove to the nearby lake, and we did! We hit the jackpot on a winding road near Foss Lake where there were more plums than we had time to pick. The three of us took our paper bags and went to work, bringing home a whopping 15 pounds of sand plums. That is enough sand plums to make three batches of jelly! Making jelly is fairly easy, but it is a time consuming process.
I set aside around twenty plums so that Beau and I can work on growing our own thicket on our newly acquired twenty acres. Sand plum thickets aren’t just desirable by humans, but much wildlife find refuge amongst these shrubs during the cold winter months. The addition to this plant to the property is just one of many things we will be doing to promote native plants and native wildlife. As we continue this process I will continue to blog about native plants as well as heirlooms, organic gardening, permaculture and hugelkulture. In the meantime, if you find yourself a hankering for sand plum jelly, you know who to call.