Cherry plum or golden bullace? Either way it made a good crumble

Cherry plums - but are these what Sheena Grant found in her garden?

Cherry plums - but are these what Sheena Grant found in her garden? - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Truth be told, my husband did raise an eyebrow when I told him that night’s dessert was a crumble made with fruit I’d found in the hedge.

“What kind of fruit?,” he asked.

Not unreasonably, perhaps, his eyebrow raised still higher when I told him I wasn’t entirely sure. After all, anyone who remembers anything their mother taught them will know it’s madness to eat fruit or plants growing wild unless you know exactly what they are.

That advice is as good today as it’s always been. But actually my attitude wasn’t as recklessly devil-may-care as it sounds.

Thanks to a plethora of ealife readers who responded to my pleas for help identifying this small gold fruit with a plum-like stone, I was sure it was either a cherry plum or a golden bullace. Well, as sure as I could be. They certainly looked like a plum when I cut them open, the juice oozing from the golden flesh, and they smelt like plums as I gently simmered them in a saucepan with a little sugar.

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Even so, I served up the crumble with a dash of trepidation. Foraging blackberries is one thing but a never-seen-before half-identified plum-like thing?

You can tell I was slightly worried, despite your help. I’d foraged enough fruit to make three crumbles but only two made it to the table that day. I opted to give my son a dessert made with apples from the garden and not just because I thought he was more likely to eat a fruit he was familiar with.

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In the meantime my husband and I braved this new culinary experience. The fruits were succulent and definitely plum-like, if a little sharper in taste. And what’s more, they were free. So much so that we were squabbling over who was going to have the remaining crumble the following night.

The harvest got me thinking about what else is out there at this time of year. Apparently it’s a bumper year for hedgerow fruits, with much of it ripening earlier than usual. And according to some experts, cherry plums are among the most under used wild foods because most people just don’t know what they are. The harvest in my garden wasn’t enough for more than my three crumbles but they can apparently be used for wine or jam making too. So, if the weather’s good, I know what I’ll be doing this weekend.

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