I love this time of year, when the hedgerows around about become billowing white clouds of stone fruit blossom: Damsons, gages, bullace, wild plums and sloes. It is very transient, but beautiful.
A while ago I wrote a post sharing my discovery that plum blossom has a surprising strong scent (you probably already knew that, but I’d missed it before) and that plum blossom has long been used to make a wonderful steam-distilled hydrosol. This sweet, light floral essence has many uses from facial spritzer, laundry/room freshener to aromatherapy and skin inflammation/irritation soother.
So, amid the current advice to both stay at home and get outside to enjoy fresh air and nature, it seemed like a perfect chance to do a spot of early hedgerow foraging and then revisit the possibilities of plum (or mixed stone fruit) blossom products*.
My intention was to have a go making some Wild Plum Blossom Syrup, so that at close quarters I could capture and enjoy that delicate almond scent from the stone fruit blossom.
I found a simple recipe for it by Katherine Taylor here, but I’ll describe the steps I took as well (in case it disappears).
Since this was an exploratory test, I prepared only a small amount of syrup using a ratio of 100g sugar to 100ml of water. I just boiled a kettle and poured the water into a Pyrex measuring jug, added the sugar and stirred the mixture until the sugar had completely dissolved.
I left jug on the side while I went out to the garden to collect a good handful of blossom. (See how easily the recipe scales up for each handful of flowers.) It is a good idea to then leave the blossom in a bowl for a short while to allow bugs, e.g. pollen beetles, to walk out of the flowers.
In her foraging travels Katherine uses a thermos flask filled with a warm syrup as her receptacle for the clean (ie bug-free) blossom. This is sealed and left for 24hrs. I used a thermos for this stage too. Next day I strained the syrup into a swing-top preserve bottle (bit of spillage unfortunately – note to self: use a funnel next time!).
The syrup smells so very enticing and it put me in mind of sticky Persian syrup cakes. So it was a nature progression to go on to make a cake to be drizzled with my lovely blossom syrup.
I used this sticky date cake recipe as a guide and then, while it was hot, I skewered the top and poured plum syrup generously all over it.
It’s really more of a pudding and is excellent warm, but I cut it up like a tray bake and stored the remainder in the fridge overnight. A day later and it tastes even better and is easier to handle.
And tomorrow I believe I will be scaling the syrup recipe up to make more!
*P.S Other things you can make with plum blossom are: