How to dry prune plums
Dried prunes are made from plums. However, not all dried plums are prunes. Only Italian prune plums, the small deep purple plums make dried prunes. Other plums are just “dried plums” when dehyrdrated
Italian prune plums grow abundantly. The trees are hardy to zone 5. Italian prune plum are self pollinating. You will see fruit about 5 years after planting. Prune plums are sweeter than other plums, having a higher sugar content.
When I was growing up in Vancouver in the 1970s, we had two old Italian prune plum trees in our back yard. They were the dominant feature, shading out most of the lawn in the backyard. My step dad harvested the tree and made gallons of wine with the fruit each fall. There was a fragrant sweetness combined with harsh fermentation that permeated the kitchen for a week or two in September, before the must was syphoned from the juice, and the fermenting juice was sealed in a carboy. They didn’t dry any of the plums into prunes. I think they missed out. The sweet prunes are much better than the wine. And the prunes are much easier to make from the bounty than the wine was.
Italian prune plums are super easy to dry. The pit is free stone. The flesh, although juicy, dries easily in a dehydrator, provided that you keep the air circulating. Because they are fleshy and moist they can be a bit of a challenge, though. They need to dry quickly to avoid developing mold on the surface.
Follow these steps and you are guaranteed success.
- Make sure your plums are free of damage and mold before you begin.
- Wash the plums in cold water to remove yeast, dirt, and pesticides.
- Slice the plum in half along the line of the plum. It’s like a dotted line that says “slice here”.
- Remove the pit.
- Take each half and turn it inside out, using the pressure of your thumb under the skin of the plum.
- Place the plums on a single layer on your dehydrator trays.
- Dry on medium heat, with the fan going to ensure the air circulates around the plums. Don’t try to dry these in a regular electric oven.
- Rotate the trays half way through the drying time. Allow for 24 hours to dry the prune plums.
- When they are done, they will be pliable, but firm. They will be solid with no squishy feeling when you squeeze them. They should not be sticky. They will darken in colour, appearing almost black throughout.
- Once thoroughly dry and cooled, store in a glass jar with a firm lid to keep out insects and moisture. Keep in a cool, dry place. They will last for years.
5 Benefits of dried prunes
- Prunes are high in antioxidants.
- They are high in polyphenols, which prevent free radical damage.
- Prunes are high in soluable fiber — yes, you already knew that. They are famous for their laxative effect. In fact, they have such a strong reputation for relieving constipation that the California Prune Board petitioned the FDA to change their official name to “dried plums”.
- Prunes are low in calories and low in sugar. With just 30 calories for a dried prune, they are helpful for diabetic or low calorie diets. Their soluable fiber helps to keep blood sugar levels stable.
- Dried prunes are also a good source of vitamin C and Iron.
Make dried prunes part of your food storage preparations.
Other posts about drying fruits and vegetables