Preserving plums...

23 February, 2015

I've been absolutely inundated with plums from the Ziegler plum this year. It's only 3 years old but this year I would have had close to 5kg off the tree, which is way to much for me to eat before they were no longer good for eating.

What was there to do? Why, preserve of course!

I am a fan of the Fowlers Vacola, however this time around I also wanted to dehydrate some. I love dried fruit, mostly as a snack whenever a sweet craving hits. Which is amusingly consistent with the type of dehydrator which I have, which is an Ezidry Snackmaker.

http://chudo-leyka.ru/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/ezidri-korobka1.jpg
Source

To dehydrate the plums I halved the fruits and deseeded, then laid the halves on the trays.


I did three trays worth of plums, which was maybe a bit over a kilo.


These went into the dehydrator on low (around 40 degrees C) for about 15 hours. I find the low heat is better as these softer fruits (say compared to apples) have a tendancy to almost cook at higher temps.

After about 8 hours I 'popped' the fruit i.e. turned them inside out, which helps to expose more of the cut fleshy side and ensure the fruit are dry all the way through.

By the end they looked back to normal.


They are done when they have no soft squishyness about them.



But still I had more plums. I decided to preserve a few in the pressure canner which I was using anyway to preserve a pot of chicken stock.

This meant getting out the Ball Mason jars.

Using the pressure canner is a little easier to prep than the Fowlers Vacola. No messing about with sterilising jars, because in the pressure canner the temperatures reached are much higher. Just pack fruit into clean jars, top with water or syrup and process.


These also got halved, seeds removed and packed into the jars, as many as I could squeeze in.


25 minutes at 11 pounds and we have preserved plums.


It doesn't look like a lot, but this will let me enjoy the Ziegler plums for a little which longer.

13 comments:

  1. i like the sound of the pressure canner. i also love the look of your dehydrated plums. they look so chewy and intense.

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    1. I have found the pressure canner to be a worthwhile investment! The dried plums are pretty chewy and have a slightly more caramelised flavour than fresh. I don't think they will last long :)

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  2. Lucky you to have so many plums in the third year. I keep hoping for plums here. But the plum tree I put in four years ago is just too sick to grow well. So it is going. Last year I put in a different plum in another part of the yard. So maybe I'll get a few plums in a couple of years. Maybe.

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    1. I know! I've heard others around the gardening traps in Melbourne say it's been a really good year for plums, who knows why. I hope your new tree grows well and crops early.

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  3. Bek, I love your idea of 'popping' the plums half way through drying. I have a similar dryer, but mine doesn't regulate the temperature, it is either ON or OFF. I am about to start drying apples - my kids like crispy apple chips. I love your chairs, BTW, they are very elegant:)

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    1. Jo, I cant claim the idea, it was in my dehydrator instruction manual :)
      I too want to dry apples this year, but I think I'm going to need to scrimp for them as my apples have not set much fruit.
      Cheers, the chairs are very much in the French farmhouse style I like.

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  4. Bek these are totally amazing. You are lucky to have such an abundance of plums and they look wonderful after drying them :)

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    1. Cheers! They are very tasty, so much so I've eaten about a third already. They won't last long!

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  5. I know this is a bit late but I freeze a lot of my plums. They are great for baking, nothing like plum cake when the cold of winter starts. Yum.

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    1. I like this idea, but any space in my small freezer is very munch in demand so I don't freeze anything I can preserve by other means. That said, I think I may freeze a small amount next year, just for this purpose as I do love a good plum cake!

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  6. Would you recommend the dehydrator that you use? We have been looking at buying one but not sure where to start. Also, where do you source your preserving jars from? Thanks

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    1. Yes, I would recommend it. It's an Ezidry Snackmaker which I bought on sale at Myers many moons ago. I'm pretty sure you can get it online. It comes with 5 trays which has been sufficient for me so far, but I think next year I'll need to buy more trays (you can extend it to 15 trays) so I can do larger batches.
      I've heard good things about the Excalibur dehydrators, but they are a lot more expensive. I've also heard of people buying cheap dehydrators at places like Aldi and they work just fine. I guess it really depends on how much you want to dehydrate. Anything less than 5kg at a time I'd say go a cheaper one to start. You can always buy up if you find you need more dehydrating power. :)
      I get my Ball Mason jars from redback trading. They can be a little slow sometimes with delivery, but mostly they are pretty good, and reasonably priced.

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