September 29, 2012 |
With dark blue, astringent skins, and dry, sour flesh, the ancient plums called damsons aren't good for eating fresh. When submitted to a process akin to alchemy, however, their tartness and spiciness are ideal for making preserves. Cooked down, the damson's astringency disappears, and its tannic skin imparts a gorgeous magenta color and rich, spicy flavor, while its abundant pectin confers a lusciously thick and smooth consistency. Originating in western Asia (supposedly near Damascus, whence its name)
August 31, 1986 |
Deep, dusky, purplish blues. Rich, ripe reds. Golden-tinged greens. Tart and tangy, sweet and juicy, plums are the most diverse of all summer fruit. With more than 140 varieties now being grown, plums not only provide superb eating right out of hand, but also retain their distinctive qualities when combined with other ingredients and are well suited to any number of cooking techniques.
July 12, 2013
Luther Burbank was one of the most prolific plant breeders ever, responsible for developing the russet potato that bears his name as well as more than 800 varieties of fruits and vegetables. But while he is probably best remembered for that potato--it and its progeny are still the most widely planted varieties in the world--fruit lovers would argue that his crowning achievement was the Santa Rosa plum. Introduced in 1906, the Santa Rosa is still the gold standard for farmers market plum flavor, though it has fallen out of favor commercially.
May 7, 2011 |
Plums usually don't start until the end of May, but a few growers, mostly of Armenian origin, have started bringing green plums, which are unripe fruits the size of cherries. These are hard and sour, and would not appeal to most Americans, but they're much appreciated in the Mideast as the first fruits of spring and are eaten fresh, sometimes with a pinch of salt. Alan Asdoorian of Island Farms, from Kingsburg, says that his customers want only a certain variety with a distinctive taste and that if he runs out and tries to bring similar-looking immature fruits of standard varieties, like Friar or Simka, they wave their fingers and say " voch" — "no" in Armenian.
August 30, 2012 |
"Chicken With Plums," the second movie from the directors of the animated feature "Persepolis," is a live-action work that uses animation as a flourish. Yet it's more of a cartoon than its predecessor, with Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud adopting a self-contained visual scheme for nearly every emphatic emotion. And there are no other kinds of emotion in this time-shifting memory poem: The romance is absolute, the despair unquenchable. Even more than its source material, Satrapi's graphic novel of the same name, the film is a luxuriant lament.
July 2, 2010 |
The Hawthorne Del Aire farmers market, which celebrates its first anniversary this Saturday, is modest in size, with a dozen certified vendors, but its organizers are earnest about serving their community. It's sponsored by the Del Aire Neighborhood Assn., and managed by Susan Hillyer, who worked as a marketing director at Safeway and Bristol Farms before shifting careers. She volunteered at the Torrance market for Mary Lou Weiss, a veteran manager who acted as a mentor. So far she's put together a good local venue, a little sleepy, with only a few dubious vendors.