Lemon Plums: A Hint of Summer on a Winter’s Day
I made a new discovery this past week. As I was walking around the produce department I spotted a fruit that I had never seen before, lemon plums. The color was what first grabbed my attention, a warm vibrant yellow with a thin smooth skin. Their shape is somewhat similar to a lemon and somewhat similar to a plum, but longer and a little larger. These days anything bright and warm looking will hold the attention of any skeptical winter weary person. The end of winter is here and we North easterners no longer see the virtue in the color grey. I stared at these lemon plums as if I was watching a long summer sunrise. Entranced, I collected some plums to buy and bring home.
My research informed me that lemon plums are in season now and from Chile. They are rare and I was instructed to snatch them up when I saw them. Lemon plums are picked when they are yellow and unripe. As they ripen they gradually turn the color of a reddish-orange, the darker they get the riper and sweeter they will become.
I ate one when I first brought them home and yes they were hard, bland, and definitely unripe. Three days later when the orange hue was beckoning me over to gaze upon their sunrise, I couldn’t resist and bit right into one. I was rewarded with a juicy sweetness that was energizing. In the past few days the plums developed their delicious fruitiness. Observing this transformation at the end of winter gave me a stronger anticipation of good things to come. These plums whispered, “Spring is almost here.”
I could have made a lemon plum galette and been completely satisfied with eating the sugared roasted plums, but tasting something so fresh at this time of year was an awakening from hibernation. I realized that these plums are best served just as nature intended – as is. Like all juicy ripe fruit the only requirement is to be eaten standing over the kitchen sink to catch the juices dripping down your chin.
If you want something to spruce up the fruit or to have a rounded out meal, serve lemon plums with yogurt and your favorite cereal or granola. If dessert is your fancy you can swap out the yogurt with vanilla ice cream. Ice cream, lemon plums and crunchy granola create a “crumble” with half the work.
For a delicious treat to eat with lemon plums, try making homemade yogurt. Enjoy this recipe here at maureenabood.com. I love making this yogurt and her website.
Enjoy this low-fat granola recipe slightly adapted from Bob Green’s Best Life Diet.
Low Fat Granola
An excellent granola for your daily breakfast.
I usually have fresh ginger which I will substitute with the crystallized ginger in the recipe. Mince up a 1 - 2 inch piece of ginger and add it to the maple syrup while it is cooking. The fresh ginger has a bright ginger bite that I love.
- 4 cups (1 liter) rolled oats (not quick rolled oats)
- 1/2 cup (125 ml) unprocessed wheat bran ( ground flax seed for a gluten free option)
- 2 Tb canola or vegetable oil
- 1/3 cup (78 ml) real maple syrup
- 1/4 tsp almond extract
- 1/4 cup (75 ml) slivered or sliced almonds
- 1/2 cup (125 ml) dried fruit of your choice (apricots, apples, pears- chopped into 1/4 inch pieces)
- 1/4 cup (75 ml) dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup (75 ml) dried dates (chopped into 1/4-inch pieces)
- 2 Tb crystallized ginger
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Spread the rolled oats and wheat bran onto a large baking sheet. Make sure the oats and wheat bran are thoroughly mixed together. The baking sheet should be large enough for the oats and bran to cover the whole sheet evenly. My sheet pan is roughly 12" x 16" long.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the canola oil, maple syrup, vanilla extract and almond extract. Stir until evenly mixed together. Heat the maple syrup mixture until it begins to bubble. Turn off the heat then pour the syrup mixture evenly over the oats and wheat bran. Using clean hands, mix the oats with the syrup until it is evenly coated.
Put the baking sheet with the syrup coated oats in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Take the baking sheet out of the oven and add the almonds. Stir them into the rolled oats mixture with a wooden or large spoon, being careful not to burn your hands. Place the baking sheet back in the oven and continue to bake for about 5 minutes, stir the almond oat mixture again, and continue to bake until the almonds are lightly toasted. About 10 minutes total time.
Take the baking sheet out of the oven and stir in the chopped dried fruit, cranberries, and chopped dates. Put the baking sheet back into the oven and bake about 5 minutes more or until the dates are crisp.
Remove the pan from the oven and stir the mixture while still on the baking sheet. Let the granola cool for about 5 minutes then stir the mixture again. Let the granola rest on the baking sheet until it is completely cool.
Store the granola in an air tight container for up to 3 weeks.
If you do not have crystallized ginger you can substitute with finely diced fresh ginger. Put the diced fresh ginger into the sauce pan with the syrup, oil, vanilla and almond extracts. Then heat to just before bubbly and continue with the recipe. The almond extract and the ginger are the secret ingredients in this granola. They add a lot of flavor without adding a lot of extra calories.
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