How to make your own prunes

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How To Make Your Own Prunes l Plum harvest to prunes l Homestead Lady (.com)Do you have a surplus of plums and need something tasty to do with them?  Damson-type plums make the best prunes because they’re dry and their taste is just divine, sweet with just a tiny tang.  However, you can use any plum you have on hand and in a few easy steps, you’ll have a big batch of healthy, delicious prunes! 

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Frugal Real Food Meal Plans

How to Make Your Own Prunes

After harvesting ripe, firm plums (Italian prune plums are best because they’re dry but you could try this with any plum), you wash them off lightly  and get out the cutting board and a good knife. 

How to make your own prunes - fresh plums - www.homesteadlady.com

Stack up your dehydrator racks and get to work.  Simply slice the plum in half, remove the pit and pop your thumb in the back of the half of plum on the outside and push, making the plum half invert.  This helps them dry quicker (a trick I learned from a wise neighbor).  How to make your own prunes - invert before drying - www.homesteadlady.com

How to make your own prunes - drying instructions - www.homesteadlady.com

With the prunes, I make sure to dry them only until the water leaves their skins and fleshy parts as I like my prunes to stay chewy; this usually takes 8-12 hours where I live using the electric dehydrator.  You can dehydrate these in your oven, too, just put it as low as it will go and watch them like a hawk or you’ll get plum chips – hmm, that might be good.  If you have any concern that they may not be completely dry, store your softer batches in the fridge and eat them inside a month.  It’s a fine line between still wet and just soft, so do your best to judge and just keep practicing until you get a feel for it.

I forgot a batch in my dehydrator and they got a little too crisp for my taste, so I’ll save those to powder up and add water to for baby’s food.  (I also sometimes simmer the softer prunes in some filtered water and then pop them into my Vitamix for a spin and that makes a great meal for Little Miss.)  You can also vent the lid of your solar oven and dry your prunes in there – here’s a post on how we did that with apples.

How to make your own prunes - texture - www.homesteadlady.com

Just store in an air tight container and enjoy throughout the year!  We eat them as snacks but I also chop them up and add them to any recipe where I’m using raisins or dried cherries.  We enjoyed them immensely in our trail mix and oatmeal.

What about you?  Are you a fan of prunes?  Or is that food only your grandma eats?  I tell you the older I get…

To make great prunes, you may need these fine products:

How to make your own prunes - healthy homemade - www.homesteadlady.com

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20 thoughts on “How to make your own prunes

  1. Thanks for this post – I love both prunes and fresh plums! I would like to grow plums, but aren’t they susceptible to a lot of pests? Have you been able to grow them without pesticides? I’ve tried nectarine trees and they were hit severely with a fungal infection. That’s when we dug them up and planted hazelnuts in their spot. So far, no problems with the nuts. I’ll have to look into plum pests and see if they would do well here.

    1. Where do you live, Janet? My climate is dry (so few fungus issues) and cold in the winter (wipes out a lot of bugs), so its not much of a hassle to grow organic. If you live in a humid climate, just make sure you prune well every year to keep the air circulation high inside your trees. If you have a lot of bug problems, consider running chickens in your orchard area, especially in the early spring (when many bugs emerge from underground) and in the fall (when many bugs go in ground). There are several organic controls you can spray in your orchard, although this can get cost prohibitive if your orchard is large.

  2. I pulled some plums out of the freezer just last week and turned them into a sweet and spicy sauce for Chinese food. They were tart Italian plums from a girlfriend’s tree and I waterbathed two jars to give to her as part of her upcoming birthday present. in the fall I foraged a smaller sweeter tree down the road and turned those into plum conserve that is yummy with cheese and warm biscuits. Neither is freestone and I imagine if I tried to pit them for drying they’d get awfully mangled.

  3. Love your idea of making your own prunes. It certainly is a lot healthier doing it yourself than buying them from a grocery store. Thanks for sharing. I am pinnng and shared on google. Visiting from Real Food Friday & co-host.

  4. I would love to be able to do this, good for you to have inherited some fruit trees. When we were looking for a house that is one thing I wanted, but we got an acre instead. Thanks for sharing again on Real Food Fridays, I enjoy your posts, following on Pintrest.

  5. We love prunes! Our pantry always has a box or two. Kids love it as well. But we found that it can be pretty expensive to keep buying from the grocery so we decided to make them ourselves. We got a food dehydrator and started work. It’s fun and we never ran out of prunes ever since.
    Thanks for sharing!

    1. So easy to do, Anna, and the thing I like about plum trees is that they grow! Some fruits can be so fussy but, in my experience, plums are relatively low maintenance.

  6. I love prunes! Especially the chocolate covered ones. 😀 We planted a french plum tree a few years ago. Haven’t had a harvest yet, but waiting for the day we do! I didn’t know that some of them are freestone and I am not sure which my tree is. Thanks for the tutorial!

    1. Fruit trees are an investment in time but it should be so worth it! Freestones rock and I hope that’s what you ended up with but, if not, no biggie. You’re savvy.

  7. Those are Italian Prune Plums. We have one too. They also make excellent jam and plum kutchen.

    Thanks for the tip on inverting them- in all the years I never have done that trick.

  8. Thanks so much for your instructions to make prunes. I planted my trees four years ago and am finally reaping the benefits. My plums are completely organic and very ugly. But they taste awesome! I have such a good yield this year that I have to dry some, can some and maybe freeze some. Good eats!

    1. Bwahaha! Yes, Susan, completely ugly is sometimes the trade-off for all our organic practices some years. BUT, taste makes it all worth it. So glad you found the article useful!

      Are you canning whole plums or making jam? I’ve been thinking of canning spiced plums for crumbles and coffee cakes since none of us really like plum jam. What do you think?

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