If you have an abundance of plums, it’s a good idea to dry them. Dried plums help add flavor to a wide range of dishes. They also make for tasty and healthy snacks. Stored properly, dried plums can keep for a long time. Are you finally thinking of making some on your own? Well, there are several methods for drying plums.
How to Dry Plums at Home
Drying plums in the oven
Using the oven is a popular, practical, and easy way of drying plums.
Follow these steps when drying plums in the oven:
- Use a small, easy-to-handle, sharp knife to cut the plums in half. Work around the pit. Separate the halves from each other. Take out and discard the pit. You can cut the plums into smaller pieces as well, to speed up the drying process.
- Arrange the plums on the oven rack. Put them right on the rack. Put some space in between each fruit. If the plums stand too close to each other, the dehydration process may be affected.
- Put a piece of foil or a foil-lined baking tray underneath the rack.
- Plums will release a lot of juice as they go through the drying process. If you put the plums on a baking pan, the juice will stick to the pan and affect the drying process. It is more prudent to put the plums directly on the rack.
- To avoid making a mess, put a single layer of foil on the base of the oven to catch the juice. You can also use a baking tray lined with foil and set it underneath the rack.
- Set the oven to 175° – 200° Fahrenheit or lower. Drying plums work best when the oven is set at the lowest temperature possible.
- You want the plums to dry out in an even manner. Check on them every couple of hours or so. Flip them over every now and then to achieve even drying.
- Most people want their dried plums to have a dark and wrinkled look and still be a bit juicy and soft inside. If you want your plums to be slightly dryer, keep them in the over longer.
- Take the plums out of the oven as soon as they show the level of dryness that you like.
Drying time will depend on the amount of juice the plums have before you put them in the oven. It is important that you check on your plums regularly.
You may need to remove some of the plums earlier than the others. Typically, however, drying plums in the oven may take about eight hours.
Drying plums in the food dehydrator
You can use a dehydrator to dry plums. This gadget reduces the water content of the plums using heat and air flow. By efficiently and safely removing moisture, a dehydrator prevents bacteria from growing and helps preserve your plums.
Follow these steps when drying plums in the food dehydrator:
- Choose high-quality fresh plums. Do not use bruised or overripe plums.
- Wash the plums. Slice them in half. Use a small sharp knife to do this. Remove the stem and the pit.
- Load the plum halves on to the trays of the dehydrator. If you have a lot of plums, it’s alright to load them close to each other on the trays. However, see to it that the fruit does not overlap. Overlapping affects air circulation and slows down the drying time.
- After you put the plums on trays, turn on your dehydrator to begin the drying process. If you have a conventional dehydrator, set the temperature to 115° Fahrenheit. If you are using an Excalibur dehydrator, use 145°.
- To find out the recommended drying time for plums, refer to the owner’s manual. Drying times depend on factors like the amount of water in the plums, thickness of the fruit, humidity, temperature, and altitude. On the average, plums dry out within 8 to 14 hours in a dehydrator.
- Check the plums every so often. Turn the plums when the upside is dry and the plum releases easily. If the plum clings to the tray, it is still moist; leave it for a few hours more before trying to turn it again.
- Do a final check several hours after you have turned the plums. Take a slice, wait for it to cool, and then check its consistency with your fingers. If the plum seems dry to your touch, it is done.
The plum halves may dry at different times. Remove the ones which you think are dry enough for your taste. Check the other slices regularly.
- Cool your dried plums for half an hour or an hour. See to it that they are absolutely cool before you store them.
READ MORE: Which Food Dehydrator is Right for You
Sun drying plums
It may take you longer to dry your plums if you use this method. However, sun drying plums is simple and cheap. It does not require the use of any special equipment.
Follow these steps:
- Choose ripe plums that do not have any bruises or bad spots.
- Get some cooling racks and set them on cookie sheets. You can use any rack that allows the air to flow freely around the plums.
- Prepare the plums by washing and slicing them into halves. Take the pits out.
- Lay out the plums on your racks. Leave enough space between plum halves to allow the air to flow freely around them.
- Put a piece of foil beneath the racks to catch the juice that will drip from the plums as the fruit dehydrates.
- Protect the plums from bugs by putting cheesecloth loosely over the racks.
- Set the cookie sheets in a warm and dry location. Find a place where the sun can shine directly on the plums. The temperature outside should be higher than 85 degrees. Humidity should be lower than 60%. A nice breeze will help hasten the drying procedure.
- Turn the plum halves every so often so that each side gets to dry nicely.
- Take the trays inside the house every night.
- The plums will probably be ready for storage after four days. The dried plums should look wrinkled and a bit leathery but not hard. If you cut the halves open, there shouldn’t be any moisture beads inside the fruit.
How to Store and Preserve Dried Plums
Store the dried plums loosely in jars. Shake the jars once a day for about a week to evenly distribute the remaining moisture among the dried plums. If you see any condensation on the jar, return the plums to the dehydrator so they can dry further.
You can keep the dried plums in freezer bags.. When using freezer bags, get rid of as much air as you can.
If you have plums that are on the drier side, you can store them at room temperature. Choose a cool and dry section of your pantry.
You can also keep the dried plums inside your refrigerator.
If you prefer your dried plums to have a bit of moisture inside them, you can store them in the freezer to prevent molds from forming.
If you keep your prunes in the refrigerator or in the pantry, they are likely to remain unspoiled for 6-12 months. If you store them in the freezer, they can last from 12 to 18 months.