The plums you'll plump for
(CH) After the feast of grapes and wines, it's time for the festival of plums! This autumn, the plum will be celebrated in the form of mouth-watering pies or jams all around the villages of the Grand-Duchy.
In Dudelange, the “Quetschefest” will be held on September 24 and 25 and, as with every year, the association “Coin de Terre Dudelange” will prepare the famous plum jam called “Quetschkraut”, according to the traditional receipt.
Six hours cooking for 100 kilos of plums
Approach the Beetebuergerstrooss in Dudelange, one is drawn by the pleasant perfume of plums into the home “Gaart an Heem” (Garden and home). The plum, also called plum of Damascus, is one of the regional specialities: “It distinguishes itself by its sweeter flesh and unique taste,” says Marc, a volunteer at the association.
Yesterday, a twelve-strong team prepared the “Quetschekraut” from 6.30am until 7pm. Work started in the morning when the team cooked 200 kilos of plums in two copper pots above a large fire. The process was repeated in the afternoon.
“For the first two hours, you have to wait for the “quetsche” to release its juices, then add sugar and let it cook for four more hours,” explained André Feiereisen, president of the association “Gaart an Heem”.
So a six-hour cooking time then volunteers take turns in stirring the Quetschekraut with a massive spoon.
A tradition that dates back 50 years
“We are literally the only ones in the region doing it the traditional way. Other clubs use machines and there is always a risk that some of the Quetschekraut burns at the bottom of the pot, while doing it manually you can smell if there are residues,” continued André Feiereisen.
Once the jam is ready, it is poured into jars and can be stored for up to three years: “This is the tricky part because you have to close the pots quickly so as to not let air enter inside, so you can better preserve the jam”.
The association volunteers would like to keep this unique expertise alive: “This technique is a tradition that we've practised for over 50 years,” said Marc proudly, adding: “My grandparents and parents already made the Quetschekraut at home and it's been 25 years since I've been preparing this jam every year with the association”.
1400 pots sold at the Buergfest and at the Quetschefest
All in all, 400 kilos of plums were transformed into Quetschekraut and 200 kilos will be distributed by volunteers at a nearby nursing home. Those 600 kilos of plums will be sold in 1,400 jars at seven euros each. “This year, the harvest has been really good so we could start the preparations a week early and with lots of plums,” said André Feiereisen joyfully.
The pots can be purchased at the Buergfest on September 10 and 11, from 9am until 4pm and at the Quetschefest on September 24 and 25 in the home “Gaart an Heem,” near the Dudelange cemetery.
Marc concluded that “it is a great success each year because it is 100% natural. I've even got friends in Scotland and the United States that love our Quetschekraut!”