Strawberries in the Desert

Story telling from Australia

Never judge a plum by its cover

Birds don’t like our plums. They devour the peaches the nectarines and the grapes, but the plums? Not interested. I don’t blame them. Our plums are hard nuggetty lumps with mottled green skin, like dead fish floating on the surface of a stagnant pond. They’re ugly, no other word for it. The three-year-old tree did well this year and bore a surprising amount of fruit, but who wants to eat such an unappetising harvest?

Bored with a glut of peaches I picked a lone plum, took it inside and sliced through the brute. It was like opening a jewelled Aladdin’s Cave. Ripe flesh glistened pomegranate red, juice dribbled through my fingers and I licked them clean, savouring the sweetly sharp taste of perfect plum. I picked four kilos, ignored by all the birds, and set about making jam.

Choppy pieces of mottled skin floated to the surface. The plums looked more like dead fish than ever. I kept stirring and the red intensified but still the green disturbed. I stirred on, watched the colour darken to glutinous burgundy as it embraced the green until finally it thickened to bloody venous red then coagulated into dense, dark desire. There was nothing green about those plums.

Five jars of plum jam sit in the back of the cupboard waiting for the fluffy pillow of a freshly made scone. I’ll save a few crumbs for the birds.

And I’ll never call our plums ugly again.

One comment on “Never judge a plum by its cover

  1. monsoonwendy
    February 17, 2013

    You produce sensational strawberries, perfect plums, nice nectarines AND you managed to keep my straggly rocket alive in a heat wave! Many thanks. XXX


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This entry was posted on February 14, 2013 by and tagged , , , .

I'm a writer based in Australia with a passion for gardening, remote places and people with a story to tell.

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