Plum Crazy

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.

Plum Chutney

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.

Plum Cobbler

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:

Plum Butter
Plum Jam
Plum Clafoutis
Plum Tartin
Spiced Plums
Brandied Plums
Plums in Port
Upside Down Plum Cake

How about you? What are your favorite ways to use plums?

8 Responses to Plum Crazy

  1. I was lucky enough to be the recipient of a box of plums from a local gardener in the area that had extras. I used them to make plum jam and plum butter – both turned out beautifully. I am particularly enjoying the plum jam. Best of our jam selection and we have quite a few to choose from.

  2. Hi KFG – did you post your jam recipe? If so I’d love to link to it. I have one I want to try, a little unique since it’s an old french recipe but I’m out of plums now…

  3. I did not post the recipe because it was nothing more fancy then the recipe in the insert of the Sure Jell Pectin box package! LOL! It turned out perfectly though.

  4. Unbelievable! Where do you get all that energy from? That Montessori is lucky to have you.

    And you even deal with rats without freaking out like I would. Hats off to you!

    I hope your laptop recovers soon.

    Where I live, veggie gardening can be difficult (not enough hours of direct sunshine due to thick tree lines, lots of groundhogs, etc.). My second year here, I tried winter sowing and got what could’ve been a glorious perennial garden started. I planted 978 seedlings, most of them took and that year I enjoyed the most beautiful plants (I’m not much of a gardener but when I start something, well, you know… ;) ) but the following year a family of groundhogs ate 75% of my beautiful plants.

    We finally got rid of the hogs this summer. I will try again next year (much smaller scale, for sure). I don’t think I’ll be able to grow veggies because it doesn’t look like there’s a spot on our property that gets more than six hours of direct sun. :(

    Stay groovy and thanks again for that wonderful bread recipe.

    I left you a note here:

  5. Argh groundhogs! I’m so sorry about your garden! Do they tunnel under and eat from below or just from above?

    There are lots of low light things you can grow – strawberries, huckleberries, lettuces, many herbs, celery and celeriac and probably a ton more if you google. Aronia, Currents, Serviceberry, some plums…that might be enough sunlight for root crops, peas, etc.

    I was just reading something last night about growing food indoors in the winter. I’m trying to figure out a setup so that I can bring my basil, lemon verbena, lemon tree and mint plants indoors and it would be great to grow lettuce in here too. I don’t know why I never thought of that before! Move over, houseplants…

  6. They tunnel and make HUGE burrows which have many chambers (this has caused one of our retaining walls to crack!) and they eat the plants from above. They go into hibernation in October and come out in April when they start filling up on clover. By mid May your garden will start to show the damage and by early June only the ‘poisonous’ plants will survive.

    All the beautiful tall perennials I planted (hollyhocks, delphiniums, echinacea, lupins, verbascum , etc.) didn’t get a chance to shoot more than a few new leaves, they were doomed. I think sunflowers are like ice cream for groundhogs.

    I will never understand these stupid animals. You’d think they’d eat a few leaves and move on so that the plant can recuperate. Nope. They “terminate” plants! And when the fancy “salad bar” is gone, they just go back to eating clover. :( ((

    Growing food indoors sounds neat but, unless you have some kind of solar energy system, your electricity bill may go up dramatically. An acquaintance tried a new “energy saving” set up with LEDs last year, which was costly to begin with and did not save much electricity (looks like much of LED input power is wasted as heat which is not radiated towards the plants but conducted away into the LED mountings and cooling fins).

    You know, I just looked up aronia… I’ve seen something that looks like that in my backyard, near the tree line. I’ll have to investigate (lest we wind up poisoning ourselves! :D ).

  7. Wow! You have been busy, per usual. Pretty much I just made plum jam, mostly spiced golden plum jam. I really need to get a food dehydrator!

  8. Hi Auburn, I hope I hear back from you again after you try the Aronia! We have been in need of a floor lamp in the living room so we can build legos at night :) so my plan was to simply put a grow light bulb in it and raise the plants up. I have a pretty sunny corner flanked by both south & west facing windows so I was going to use that spot and try to find some old stand to put the plants on. It may not work out but I’m sure going to give it a try! I have a jump start light for my seedlings that was on from last Feb until just recently and didn’t notice a bump in electricity at all so we’ll see…

    Hi Sandy, I’m making plum jam right now and just finished another 1/2 gallon of applesauce. Do you have a golden plum tree? The spiced jam sounds great. I FINALLY just broke down and bought the ball book of home preserving but there were only a few intriguing recipes in there, one of them was a spiced plum jam one. Are you local (Seattle)? I’d gladly swap some of anything in my cupboards for a jar of your jam!

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