As I’ve mentioned before, I’m slowly trying to learn more wild, edible plants. I like discovering treasures and, like shopping for antiques and visiting thrift stores, foraging for wild food feels like finding treasures. Last year I learned how to identify beach plums. We have a lot of bushes that grow right by the boardwalk of one of the local beaches, so they are easy to find and pick. Also, most beachgoers don’t seem to know about them, so they aren’t all picked over.
This year, I felt confident about finding beach plums (Maybe a little overconfident, as I’ve picked a number of underripe ones, which tend to be extremely sour. I guess you learn more each year, right?). Jam still seems like slightly too much work (although I hope to try it again someday–my first attempt was unsuccessful), so I decided to try something else. To me, beach plums look a lot like cherries. Check it out. Here is a picture of ripe beach plums:
So, I thought maybe, just once, I would pick a bunch, pit them, and make a pie using a cherry pie recipe. I reasoned that since cherry pies use sour cherries, and beach plums look like cherries and are somewhat sour, it might be a match. Now, I have to tell you, that I have never tasted a newly picked sour cherry to my knowledge. The taste of beach plums, though, is sort of like a cranberry.
What do you think? Was it a good idea? I’ll show you what I did in pictures, but first, here is a picture of unripe beach plums, so you’ll know in case you ever find them in your area.
We took them home and rinsed them off, and then I went to work pitting them. I used this cherry pitting tool made by OXO to get it done. I definitely recommend it–works for olives, too, supposedly.
Many episodes of “Duck Dynasty” later, I had six cups of pitted beach plums for my pie. I used a recipe titled “Our Favorite Cherry Pie” from one of my go-to cookbooks, King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking.
The finished pie had a crumb topping (plus the whipped cream topping that we added). So what do you think it tasted like?
Well…it was SOUR. Ha! Once you got used to the contrast of the sour filling with the sweet crumb topping and the sweet whipped cream, it was pretty good, but initially, it was a shocker. I fed it to a bunch of hungry college students, and they voted that it was good. I thought at first that it was a failure, but everyone liked it, so it turned out to be a surprising success. Hooray! Maybe next year I’ll try jam. 🙂