freezer, we can find frozen greens like dandelion, garlic mustard, nettles, and ramps; berries like autumn olives, wineberries, cranberries, blueberries, and huckleberries; fruit like beach plums and feral pears; mushrooms like honeys, maitake, and sulfur shelf; and nuts like black walnuts and hickory nuts. We can still eat a wild food everyday when we dip into our assorted stores and pantry.
The annual Willimantic Food Co-op birthday party took place this past February 14th, and we contributed one of the 35 birthday cakes for their event, making a Beach Plum and Hickory Nut Coffee Ring, but had a bit of batter left over and made it into quick loaves for us to eat at home. I had some lightly stewed, unsweetened beach plums in the freezer, along with the hickory nuts. In the summer when we picked the cooler full of beach plums, after pitting them by hand, I made jelly from the majority of the fruit, and then took the rest of the fruit and cooked it for 5 minutes then placed it in containers to keep in the freezer. When I make this recipe, the thawed beach plums are juicy, so I
Beach Plum and Hickory Nut Quickbread makes 2-8" x 4" loaves or 12 muffins
2 c. all purpose flour
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 c. buttermilk
2 large eggs
1/4 c. butter melted, or 1/4 c. oil
1 c. strained, stewed beach plums
1/2 c. chopped hickory nuts
1. Preheat the oven to 400º F and grease 2 loaf pans or line muffin tins with papers.
2. Combine the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a large bowl.
3. Whisk together the buttermilk, eggs, and oil or melted butter in another bowl.
4. With a wooden spoon, mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined, some small lumps may remain. Gently mix in the drained beach plums and hickory nuts.
5. Divide the batter into the pans and bake at 400º F for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350º F for 10-25 minutes, until the muffins or loaves are finished. Test by pressing the tops, they should spring back lightly. Cool and remove from pans.
6. Optional: Use the leftover juice from straining the beach plums and whisk it into powdered sugar to make a thin glaze to cover the tops of the loaves or muffins for added sweetness.
I know the bread looks a bit weird and blue/purple when sliced, it is a reaction from the super acidic plums and the alkaline baking soda!