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Sep 21, 2017
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SERVING SAINT LOUIS SINCE 1999
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Posts Tagged ‘Murray’s Orchard’

Stocking Up on damson plums

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

091311_damsonplumsIf little Jack Horner was lucky, the plum that he pulled from his Christmas pie was a damson from Lori Murray’s Orchard. Murray had some of the small amethyst-colored fruit on sale last weekend at Tower Grove Farmers’ Market. They’re smaller and darker colored than the more widely known Santa Rosa variety – slighter more sour too – making them an ideal candidate for baking.

They’re best put to use in preserves or jams. You can follow the recipe for regular plum jam, but since damsons have a high natural pectin level, you’ll probably be okay with just plums and sugar (unless you want a really stiff texture). Most recipes that feature the Santa Rosa variety can easily be adapted to use damsons as well, though you may have to add in a wee bit more sugar. Be sure to taste the damsons first to assess their sweetness, then have fun baking plum tarts, cakes and clafoutis. Damsons have a number of savory applications as well, serving as a fine base for salsas and conserves. Grilled plums are great served over ice cream and can even serve as the base for a sauce to accompany full-flavored proteins.

Murray was fairly certain she’d have damsons on hand at the Maplewood Farmers’ Market this week, but you’ll have to get up early if you wait until the weekend.

Due to the seasonal nature of our area markets, supplies may vary from week to week.

Stocking Up: Peach season’s Encore

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

091510_peachesWelcome to Stocking Up, a new online column in which we reveal which products you should be looking for at the market right now. From fresh fruits and veggies to olive oils and sodas, we’ll tell you where to get them, how to pick out the best and even suggest ways to add them to your cooking repertoire.

Peach season here in Missouri will soon draw to a close but, as with any great performance, there’s one last treat remaining. And that will come in the aptly named varietal known as Encore.

Prized for their brilliant yellow flesh and somewhat-less-fuzzy skin, Encore peaches appear only at the very end of the growing season. Lori Murray, of Murray’s Orchard in Calhoun County, Ill., offers these beauties at the Maplewood Farmers’ Market as well as at the Downtown and Tower Grove markets. Look for peaches that are uniform in size and feel heavy. Avoid any with bruises or discolorations.

While these peaches are great for eating out of hand, their lower moisture content makes them perfect for preserving, Murray said. “Slice the peaches, toss them with a little Fruit Fresh and throw them in a bag in the freezer,” she advised. “Then you can take them out during the winter and put them on your ice cream.” They have a slightly less sweet taste than their earlier season brethren, which makes them a good candidate to appear in pies or cobblers. If you’re adept in other preservation methods, the Encores are good for canning as well.

Whatever you do with these peaches, you’ll have to hurry. Murray said this may very well be the last week they’ll tread the boards at her booth, providing peach-lovers with a short, but very sweet, encore.

- Shannon Parker

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