Dehydrating Plums

A while ago I noticed there was fruit on some trees that grow along the edge of our driveway.  At first Kyle and I thought they were cherries.  Around September I realized they were little plums.  There were tons of them.  Kyle actually had to cut off some limbs because they were so loaded, they were hitting our car when we drove by.  I decided I would like to dry some plums, as I am a huge fan of dried plums.  I asked the neighbors, since technically the trees are theirs.  They said they don’t do anything with them, so go for it.  Around the same time my dad picked a bunch of plums from the farm, so for a couple weeks I had plums galore.

A couple years ago I ran off with my mom’s food dehydrator that was collecting dust in her pantry.  Around the time I got the lifetime supply of plums, my mom had a bunch of pears that were starting to go, and needed a dehydrator.  Long story short, somehow I ended up with an early Christmas present from my mom, in the form of a dehydrator.

How to dehydrate plums:

1.  Wash plums and toss out any bad ones.

2. The smaller plums from my yard, I just cut in half.  The larger ones my dad  brought me, shown below, I cut into quarters.  If they’re not ripe, the seed is a little difficult to remove, but cutting in quarters helps.

3. Place plums on the dryer trays.  (Here’s my tip….Although it is more difficult to get them to stand upright if you put them skin down, you will thank me when you try to remove the dried ones.  So put the skin down, or else spray the trays with some non-stick spray.  I don’t like the non-stick spray, as I think it makes the fruit feel like of greasy after it’s dried.  when I did my first batch, I put the cut side down and my fingers hurt for days after prying the fruit off the trays.

4. Dehydrate for 12-30 hours or until the plums are leathery, at 135 degrees.  My new dehydrator has a timer on it, so I set it for around 10 hours, checked the fruit then set it again.  My fan is on the top of my trays instead of on the bottom, like my old one.  Supposedly that is supposed to make it so you don’t have to rotate the trays, but I still had to.

5. Once the plums are dry, I suggest putting them in the freezer for a couple days.  It kills any bugs that could be lurking.  You can then store them in the freezer, or in a jar.  If you put them in a jar, shake them every day for a week or so to help get any residual moisture out.  (The dryer prunes will absorb the moisture from the less dry ones.)  I like to store them in the freezer, as I kind of like them frozen, and I don’t have to worry about them being completely dry.  I think I would cry if they started to mold or something.  The nice part is once dry, they take up only a fraction of the room in the freezer that they would before drying, so it’s easy to find a corner for them.  I love dried fruit as a snack.  I always crave something sweet after meals, and dried fruit is a nice little treat.

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