Hopefully sometime next week I’ll get my desktop restored and be able to download photos again. Until then just imagine amazing plumness.
I’m winding down the plums in my kitchen unless I can convince my kids to come pick plums with me tomorrow from a neighbor’s tree. That’s assuming today’s blustery weather didn’t knock them all to the ground.
In the last 3 weeks I’ve had my share of plums. The neighbor who showed up with probably 30 pounds of plums started me down the path. Within days I had canned or dried them all and emailed the neighborhood for more so that I could send them to preschool with my little guy. He attends a wonderful montisorri but the snack food is atrocious. It’s generally saltines and graham crackers so this year I’ve made it my mission to supply their snack at least once a week.
It won’t be easy to beat a graham cracker in a three year old’s eyes – especially one who never gets them! But I’m putting my thinking cap on and hopefully it will serve me well.
Back to the plums.
This has been a bumper year for them it seems so I’m listing how I’ve preserved or served them in my household. There are many, many more ways.
Mostly I’ve dehydrated them. When you do it yourself they taste nothing like what you buy in the store. The sugars are almost carmelized and you can take them out a little early while they are still soft. This retains much of the fresh flavor but most of the water has evaporated out so they take up about 1/8 of their original space. I save them in glass jars in the freezer since I didn’t dehydrate all the moisture out (which is why they are so yummy).
Once they are dried like this you can simply soak them in warm liquid for about 10 minutes to rehydrate them. You can put them into muffins, quick breads or bake them as you would fresh plums. To dry them simply wash them, halve and pit them then lay them on dehydrator screens skin down until no juice comes out when you squeeze them.
I’ve also made plum chutney. I love to use this chutney as a glaze or sauce for pork or any rich smoky meat like smoked duck. It also makes a great base for salad dressing for a beet and gorgonzola spinach salad. The measurements are very fluid – add until it’s to your liking and it’s so high in sugar from the plums and vinegar that it will still be safe to process in a water bath.
About 15-20 plums, chopped skin on
1 onion, chopped
1 cup raisins or dried currents
1/2 cup evaporated cane juice or honey
1 cup Rockridge Orchard apple cider vinegar
Simmer for 30 – 60 minutes until you achieve the thickness you like
Bottle and water bath process for 10 minutes, or freeze
Lemon Verbena Plum Compote
30 plums, seeded and chopped with skin on
1 cup evaporated cane juice
1 cup filtered water
1 handful lemon verbena leaves
2 Tablespoons honey
Warm the water and sugar in a pan with the lemon verbena leaves, crushing the leaves with the back of the spoon. Stir the sugar until dissolved then turn the heat off and let the lemon verbena steep for 10 minutes.
Remove the lemon verbena leaves and add the honey, stirring until dissolved.
Add the plums and cook gently over medium heat for 2-5 minutes until they soften slightly. Can using a water bath for 10 minutes. These are great with yogurt and granola or with pound cake and whipped cream for a quick dessert, or just to eat plain in the middle of winter when you really want fruit that tastes fresh and not dried or stewed.
Any cobbler, crisp or crumble topping recipe
Enough quartered plums to fill your casserole dish
2 Tablespoons of instant tapioca or cornstarch
Quarter plums and add sugar and cinnamon to taste, then add tapioca or cornstarch. Cover with topping and bake uncovered in a 350 degree oven until the filling bubbles. Serve with Snickerdoodle ice cream or cinnamon whipped cream.
Some other great ways to use plums:
Plums in Port
Upside Down Plum Cake
How about you? What are your favorite ways to use plums?