When the trees are full of wild plums, there’s nothing more delicious and easy to make than this simple compote. Juicy, sweet and subtly spiced, this wild plum compote is delicious served with breakfast, or as a healthy dessert.
Where and When to Find Wild Plums
There are lots of types of wild plums. They all come from the Prunus family. Wild plums trees are typically found growing in hedgerows or the borders of fields and woods.
Summer and Autumn are the prime fruiting season, which varies across the species and the climate. In the UK you can find dark purple ‘Damsons’ ripening in August, and ‘Bullaces’ around 6 weeks later in October. Here in Austria, July is primetime for wild plums – Kriacherl or Ringlotte as they are commonly called. A round variety of yellow wild plums are called Mirabelles. In France the Mirabelle de Lorraine is a protected variety, and they use them to make the delicious tarte aux mirabelle. In Nancy they even set a world record for the longest mirabelle tart – 206.31 meters! Now that must have taken rather a lot of time to pick all those wild plums!
Picking wild plums
Once you’ve identified a wild plum tree, you should have no trouble gathering plenty for this wild plum compote. They are often very full of fruit. If the fruit gives a little when you squeeze it, that is a good sign its ripe and ready to pick. Simply tasting it is another good test! Gather them in a basket, or in a bowl with a lid. We’ve been know to take a ladder with us on some occasions! Always wash them well before use.
How to make plum compote
Once you have gathered your wild plums, it’s really easy to make this compote. The main difference you will notice between wild plums and the domesticated variety is that the stones are not so easy to remove!
But this recipe has a trick up it’s sleeve… You simply leave the plums whole and remove the stones as you eat. It’s the traditional way here in Austria, and means you don’t loose so much of the plum goodness that stays stuck on the stone. If you prefer, you can take the time to remove the stones before cooking. Slice across the crease and pry the stone out. If the plums are very ripe you can sometimes just squeeze.
This wild plum recipe is very quick and easy to make. All you need is wild plums, sugar, water and spices. Simply cook them up together for about 5 minutes. And that’s it!
How to enjoy this wild plum compote
This compote is delicious for breakfast with granola and vegan joghurt. It’s also amazing with our Vegan Kaiserschmarrn – a kind of Austrian caramelised pancake.
For dessert you can serve it warm with a crispy oat topping, or serve chilled with a garnish of mint leaves, and maybe some vegan ice cream, yummmm…
Wild Plum Compote
- 3 cups wild plums
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup water
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp cloves
- Prepare and sterilise jars and lids (if using)
- Wash the wild plums. Either: remove the stones now, or leave them in and remove when eating. We go for the easy option of using them whole.
- Place the plums in a saucepan with the sugar, water and spices
- Cook on medium high heat and stir until the sugar is all disolved, the liquid is gently boiling and the plums are tender. This can take between 3-10 minutes depending on the ripeness and size of your plums. When the skins of the plums split and the liquid is starting to thicken, is a sign that the compote is ready.
- Take the compote of the heat and immediately pour into sterilised jars
- Alternatively, you can serve it warm, or simply let it cool and chill in the fridge.
Hope you enjoyed our plum compote! For more tasty recipes inspired by our travels… join the adventure by signing up for updates.
With love from the Austrian Vineyards,
Sophie and Paul