There comes a time in September when you can buy bulk fruit on the cheap in large baskets, crates, or whatever massive bin imaginable (yes, I’ve even seen fruit measured by the wagon-ful and then tugged away). In my mid-Atlantic region, the market stands usually then have mounds of peaches, nectarines, apples, pears, apricots, and other fruits of so many different varieties and colors. This year, I decided to bet on the plums. As others fought and negotiated over the Galas and Granny Smith’s, I thought that the dark plums deserved some wooing, so I paid about $1 a pound for a large basket full of the plushy stone fruits.
Once back in my kitchen, and simmering on my stovetop, the sight of rising steam and sensations of stewed fruit smells reminded me of being back on the farm in France. Once the black currants ripened and harvest continued throughout one week in July, continuous pots of jam were made to sell throughout the year. As laborious as the process was, the pleasant aromas and filling jars was an overly rewarding to experience, preserving ripe fruit with lots of nutrients and flavor, to be spooned onto bread, ice cream, roasted meats, and other food companions.
Plums are perfect to use to make compote as you can easily remove the skins and seeds, and the volume of juice from the fruit makes the final product an easily spreadable and versatile mixture. Plums are scarcely found in recipes or restaurant menus, so make this compote for a healthy, homemade fruit delicacy—a indigestion relief delicacy! There are many properties of plums that aid your digestive system, such as the compound sorbitol and fiber. Spices can enhance the compotes flavor and laxative benefits. So plums, meet nutmeg. Nutmeg is the seed of a type of evergreen tree, and pairs so well with the fleshy fruits. Sprinkling grated nutmeg onto your food will help relieve you from stomach aches as well as other digestive discomforts. Seems like these two musky tree branch sprouts need to make an amazing compote together!
Plum Compote with Nutmeg
modified from Gourmet Magazine’s “Poppy Seed Pound Cake with Plum Pluot Compote” (September 2009)
- 6 pounds plums
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 lemon, zest and juice, separated
- 1 tablespoon grated nutmeg
- Place plums in a large bowl, or two medium sized bowls. Boil water in a kettle or a saucepan, and then pour over the plums. Allow to sit for at least 3 minutes.
- One by one, take plums out and peel off their skins. Remove their seeds and cut into quarters. Place fruit segments in a large saucepan.
- Add the sugar, zest, and lemon juice to the fruit. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Simmer until fruit begins to fall apart and liquid is slightly syrupy, about 30 minutes.
- Remove from heat and stir in nutmeg. Transfer to a bowl to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature. Do not refrigerate until the compote reaches room temperature.
As skinning and pitting the fruit takes time, I suggest making this recipe on the weekend or during an open evening when you want to spend time at home. This recipe is also great to make with a friend or the family, and then the compote can be shared among the helpers. I suggest serving warm on cake or ice cream, or room temperature on Pumpernickel Sourdough bread, baguette with butter, or on yogurt with granola. Bon ap, to digestive health!