A Plum Job – Getting Ready to Process Plums

Some of last year’s plums.

In our forest garden, we have a mature plum tree laden with plums. While there are still a couple of weeks or so before they are ripe, I thought I’d take a little time to share how I make the most of our plum tree’s fruits.

First of all, if you have a plum tree and would like to know a little more about how to care for it, here is an article I wrote on the topic: Plum Tree Gardening.

Of course you can just enjoy the plums from your plum tree fresh – as a snack, in salads, in fruit salads, or for dessert. But if you do not think of other ways to use up your plums, some may go to waste.

To avoid waste in our house, we spend a lot of time processing plums during their harvest period. Here are some things we do here that might give you some inspiration as to what you do with your own harvest. We make:

  • Plum jams, chutneys and other preserves.
  • Sweet and savoury plum sauces that can work well in a range of recipes. (Plum pairs well with chilli for a spicy dipping sauce, for example.)
  • Plum puddings, cakes, pies and tarts.
  • Savoury plum dishes, like plum tabbouleh.
  • Pickled plums (for use in salads or with cheeses, perhaps).
  • Plum juice (often mixed with other fruits of the season).

We also dry some plums to make prunes. High humidity here means air drying is not really an option. So I dry plums by halving and de-stoning them, and placing them well-spaced on trays in the oven on low for around 8 hours.

Of course, there are many ways to use up a plum harvest. Removing stones and halving plums takes some time (and in my experience, de-stoning tools don’t really make the job all that much easier). But the effort is well worth it and we certainly find it worthwhile to make the most of these delicious fruits.

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