sexta-feira, 9 de outubro de 2009
Homemade Dried Plums
In our garden we have two big plum trees, a small tree growing besides and some new trees are expected to join these group soon as many seeds were thrown around the area these last couple of years. The two producing trees have provided us with buckets and more buckets of plums and I almost freaked out trying to find different and interesting uses for all the plums we picked this year. Besides the obligatory distribution of fruits to family members and friends I made some fantastic dishes with our little cherry plums. We also picked some delicious yellow plums in our neighbors garden which were also included in the recipes.
In case some of you can read Portuguese, I have links to all the recipes of my plum adventure.
Oat and plum crumble pie
Two colors plums jam
Plum yogurt cake
Sweet sour plum sauce
Plum yogurt ice cream
It was a great fun to learn how to dry plums at home since I don't own a dehydrator and I used my conventional oven to do the job. All the instructions I found referred to the use of dehydrators so I had to invent and experiment with the oven. I learned that with a proper machine it would take 12 hours to dry big plums and it took more than 24 hours to dry my little plums. Besides the energy costs, which were seriously considered, there weren't any other inconvenient in the job, on the contrary, it was amazing to eat my homemade plums which looked a lot more like big sized raisins than prunes.
My prunes were small, because my plums were small pink ones, but they taste like the best prunes I have ever tried. They are sweet, tasty, soft and juicy ans I selected the best plums to be dried. It is fundamental that the plums to be dried are ripe but not over riped, washed and dried so the natural wax of the fruits is slightly removed. Our trees are totally organic, never received any chemical additive or fertilizers and we happily share our yearly harvest with birds, snails and insets in general who mostly prefer our strawberries and for that reason we had a huge production this year. The dried prunes can be caned in sterilized jars and they can last, unfortunately not as long as jam but they can resist pretty well protected from humidity and heat.
3 to 4 cups of perfectly ripe plums
1 dry and clean big sheet pan
Transfer plums to pan let them dry in a previously heated oven at 80C for 12 hours. Check the fruits and if they are inflated with air make some holes on theirs skins with a tooth pick or a fork. Let them dry for another 12 hours and they will be dry but juicy and soft. If your plums are bigger and still didn't reach the perfect staged after 24 hours let them cook another 6 hours checking every two hours to certify that they did not over dry. Transfer to sterilized jars and keep the jars in cool dry places.
Drying plums at home is an act of love and patience but you will be reward with the most sweet and tasty prunes you ever tried. Good prunes require extremely good, sweet and ripe plums. Try eating your home made prunes with natural yogurt and a drizzly of honey, it is my favorite way to enjoy prunes.