Frozen Plums or, How to Make a Chimpanzee Very Happy with Dinner

dscf1061.jpgDuring the summer we often get invitations to harvest fruit from people
who have fruiting trees that produce too much fruit for them to use
themselves. This past summer we were lucky enough to be invited to
harvest apples, apricots, peaches, and plums. Because there is usually
too much fruit for Tatu, Loulis, and Dar to eat before it goes bad,
there is usually a small army of interns preserving the fruit by either
drying or freezing it. This preserved fruit helps us through the leaner
winter and early spring months when we receive smaller amounts of
produce from gleaning and fruit can be very expensive to purchase.

dscf1066.jpgThis last summer a well-meaning intern froze almost six gallon-sized bags of plums whole.

dscf1065.jpgOne dish in which frozen fruit is often used is breakfast smoothie. The
frozen fruit can add a thickness because it’s frozen. However, if the
frozen fruit has pits in it, it might hurt the blender. So, the plums
have been sitting in the freezer since they were frozen, almost useless.

dscf1072.jpgBut, waste not, want not. I decided to use the plums for
something–anything. But defrosted fruit is soggy, and not terribly
appealing. So, I defrosted the plums in one pot, cut the seeds out as
they thawed and stewed them in another pot with some spices, and served
it in divided bowls with plain white rice.

dscf1075.jpgApparently this was exactly what I should have done because everyone wanted extra helpings. As I sat watching the chimpanzees enjoy their meal, I saw something curious. Dar, who usually enjoys each ingredient of his meals separately (rice first, then onions, then peppers, etc.), took a big spoonful of the stewed plums and plopped it into the rice side of his bowl. Then he stirred it around for a bit and took a big bite. He must have liked his concoction because he ended up licking both sections of the bowl clean.

dscf1076.jpgIt always makes me happy when the chimpanzees enjoy something I have made for them so much. I guess I know what to do with the five other gallon bags of whole frozen plums!


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