Back in January my friend Kate came to visit me at work to drop off a birthday present. Upon arriving she exclaimed that we had a rare Davidson Plum tree fruiting outside our office. I had walked past it everyday without noticing its existence, and so Kate took me outside to introduce me to the tree. This is what I found:
The Davidson Plum is unusual not only because the fruit grows off the trunk in bunches like grapes, but also because it is usually pollinated by bats. The Davidson Plum is native to New South Wales and in the wild is considered a rare species. It has been saved from endangerment by it's novelty.
Since Kate introduced me to the Davidson, I have been paying more attention to the landscaping at the University where I work. I remembered the pineapple my manager pointed out, growing by the car park. I noticed when some students stripped guavas from a tree outside my office. I watched for weeks as an abundance of figs in the art school driveway dropped and rotted on the ground. And I have been eyeballing the oranges in the architecture driveway, daydreaming about marmalade. I haven't managed to rescue any other wasting fruit, but back in January I did take some of the Davidson Plums home to make Sloe Gin. I also planted the stones in paper coffee cups to sit on my windowsill, where they are now flourishing. I plan to plant three of my own Davidson Plum trees in my garden.
While I have been typing this, I have been enjoying a glass of my Davidson Sloe Gin. It may be a little early in the day, but it has been a particularly rough week.
Davidson Sloe Gin
Wash and chop up the Davidson Plum's into small chunks, removing the stones. Put the plum flesh into a swing-top jar along with white sugar and gin. For quantities - use 100g of sugar and 100g of plum for every litre of gin. Shake to stir and leave in a dark cupboard to infuse for 3 months before sampling. Damson Plums would make a good substitute for this recipe as they are also bitter. I suspect you could also use a standard plum and use less sugar to compensate.