Plums are Rad

We love plums. They stride across the cultural palette and their flavor conjures a variety of dishes: Chinese plum sauce, French tarte aux quetsches, Italian plum cake, Indian alu bukhara ki chutney.

We make jam with them, of course, and love to throw a little wine in with them. In August we bought some golden sugar plums from a farmer upstate and tantalized the jamarchy with Sugar Plum Fairy Preserves, in which we mixed them with a rare vintage ice wine. Not happy with just one plum jam, we acquired some small, black Damson plums from Wilklow Orchards.

The cold wind of autumn swept in through the back door of Chestnut restaurant where we cook up our jams, but the delicious smells in the kitchen erased all traces of chill. The pastry chef was making brownies while we mixed our little plums with port wine from Argentina--a deep, rich, sweet wine--and crystallized ginger. The taste is awesome. The wine deepens the dark plumy flavor and the ginger invigorates and refreshes the palette. We cook the jam with the skins, and they give the otherwise tan flesh a deep redish black color. Beautiful. This jam tastes like deep autumn, when our mouths crave something spicy, rich, sweet and tart to sustain us during the dark months.

Jam on.