This is our Greengage tree (photographed in summer), almost every year it produces a large crop of sickly sweet plums that are (to my taste) almost inedible.
However they do make wonderfully naughty Eau de Vie.
Eau de Vie is made locally using 'well hidden' stills. Strange wood-fired machines that convert barrels-full of rotting plums into near lethal alcohol are found hidden in old barns, or covered by tarpaulins, deep in the woods.
Hereabouts, the three most popular fruits for making this elixir are grapes, pears, and plums.
Eau de Vie is sold, or passed around, discreetly. I'm not a drinker of strong spirits, but I do like to have a bottle in the house..... just in case.
Here's one that I've just been given.
Will I ever sample it? Not sure.
I've blacked-out the maker's name just in case the Revenue Men are on my tail!
I believe in "just in case". I find that one should be prepared for any situation and it seems you will be.ReplyDelete
The new bottle is Plum Eau de Vie, but I've had a bottle of Pear in the house for years; it's still untouched.Delete
There are probably Folk Cures attached to it too!ReplyDelete
Many years ago I tested its 'miraculous properties' for a nasty cold. All I got was a horrendous hangover.Delete
Perhaps like Poitín it can be mixed with olive oil and used as a rub ?Delete
At least you forgot about your cold, Cro ! ;-)Delete
Maybe, but it din't go away!Delete
Heavens - shades of the Prohibition era - what fun !ReplyDelete
Somehow I suspect that the Eau de Vie may be more useful for lighting the BBQ !
We do use White Spirit for lighting the fires, but I'd never though of using booze. If we run-out.... maybe.Delete
'Just in case' of what? I think you need a contingency plan!ReplyDelete
We get pear eau de vie from our neighbour. Tastes like rocket fuel (not that I know what rocket fuel tastes like) but a vital ingredient for 'pickling' cherries in the summer. Makes a lovely cherry liqueur.ReplyDelete
I always used to do prunes, but I just find it all too much these days.Delete
I love greengage jam. Your tree looks in better fettle than ours, which only just gives us enough gages for a few pounds.ReplyDelete
It is very important to have a shelf of "just in case" alcohol. You never know if a bloggy friend might turn up!
I froze a load whilst they were still not over sweet, and we have them in pies (like a Tarte Tatin, but with plums). I agree, it's always good to have a bit of everything in the house.Delete
Our neighbour gave us a bottle...ReplyDelete
a litre bottle...
of his Eau de Vie du Mirabelle...
effectively that is 10 litres of drink!!
You need to dilute it ten to one before you can taste those little plums!!
And your 'Gage looks like a "Wren Clawed" to me...Delete
fruit are more rounded than a real 'gage...
and I agree...
as do the hornets...
that they are somewhat oversweet when ripe...
but, pick them just before they start to go goldy-green and they bottle up summat luvely!!
And the leftover syrup from the bottle...
diluted a bit...
with the addition of some EdV du Prune to lower the freezing point...
makes a wonderful sorbet!!
That's what I do. I catch them just before they become ripe, cut them in halves, and freeze them. And you're right, it is a renn-clored.Delete
We have two (pretty unproductive) Cambridge Cage at the mo.Delete
Planted said tree this year and am pleased to see what it will look like.
I just love the fragrance of greengages...perhaps they are just too common where you are?!ReplyDelete
Ours is the only one I know of in the area. I love them before they become too sweet.Delete
I love the way in which old country ways still exist in France. And it must be nice to have an emergency supply of alcohol naughtiness just in case things get tough!ReplyDelete
A bit like having a first aid box in the house!Delete
I ADORE greengages and you don't seem to see them in the shops very often .... M & S sometimes have them but, if you blink, you miss them !!!! I would even eat them sickly sweet !!! Perhaps you could make a purée with them to have over ice cream ? XXXXReplyDelete
I don't know if it's the extra heat here, but they become SO sweet, that they are unpleasant. A purée is a good idea.Delete
Eau de Mort if you drink enough of it...ReplyDelete
People do refer to it as that.Delete
I'm so surprised. Illegal stills and moonshine in France. I never knew that.ReplyDelete
Unimaginable, isn't it!Delete
Are the greengages good to eat if you pick them a bit...green? I like plums that still have a bit of zing in them.ReplyDelete
Once they start yellowing they become far too sweet and 'sticky'; far better a bit green.Delete
I've occasionally found greengage plums at our farmers markets...but not very often. They are always very expensive, so usually I successfully resist a purchase.ReplyDelete
It's grand to see that the production of Eau de Vie continues undercover. I don't think I've ever tried it, and appreciated both your views and the previous commenters' suggestions. I learn so much here!
Just in case of what I ask Cro?ReplyDelete
Cro, and here I thought southern U.S.A. were the only ones that had illegal stills and made moonshine.ReplyDelete
Greengage so are my favourites - I love the buttery sweet flavour unfortunately the last couple of years my tree has hardly produced anything.ReplyDelete
Your post reminds me of years ago when a fellow from Northern Ireland came to live on Lewis. He brought potcheen that he'd made. I never tried it because I rarely drank spirits then. From what I heard I had a very lucky escape.ReplyDelete