In the midst of Flax my two daughters and their friends went down to the park in our neighborhood where they have been anticipating some plums. Several plum trees are planted there. Anyway, about an hour later they come back with plums…. so many plums….
The above picture is about half of the plums… these are the not so ripe plums. I kind of freaked out slightly. Normally, I would have been all over this. However, I have been doing a LOT of canning this year and we had ordered 40# of peaches and 20# of pears through 4H and they were being delivered in about 4 days. I had already counted my jars and I was down to one case of 1/2 pints. So here I am faced with around 30ish pounds of plums!
So I started googling plum preserves. None of the recipes I found called for pectin. I have not had great success without pectin in jams. We shall not talk about the black currant debacle this summer. Then I remembered that I could call the county extension agent who is in charge of consumer sciences. (if you have never thought about doing this you should. Her job is to help people do stuff like this, all the time! How cool is that?) This woman has done canning with our club several times. So in desperation I gave her a call. Of all the people I talked to that day she was really the only one who understood. I mean really! I had plums! My question was really “Do I have to peal them?” She started laughing. Then she told me to google plum butter in a crock pot. “The skins dissolve and the ones that don’t you just pick out.”
No peeling, just halving and pitting… put them in a crock pot and then can when done? AND plum butter uses WAY less sugar than preserves. I was sold. I found these recipies one on small potatoes and the other from food in jars. I tried both of them. The recipe from small potatoes has you do everything in the slow cooker until it is done. Food in jars has you masticate the fruit overnight and then put it in the oven the next day for 2-3 hours until it is done. Having done both I have to say I prefer the oven method. It gave a redder color and the finished product seemed thicker. Both were pretty low maintenance. The only downside was that the smell of cinnamon and plums was overwhelming after 12+ hours. My house smelled like a bad Christmas pot pouri factory.
The other downside was each batch only made 4 of the 1/2 pint jars each. So in the end I have 12 jars, however, that’s not a lot of jam. Now, my extension lady did tell me that I could potentially do a double batch in the slow cooker and it would still work. I did not end up trying that, but the week is young and I still have plums…
Next I found this recipe for fruit leather. It takes 7lbs of plums. WOOO HOOO! So we made that too. Only I used 2 trays instead of 3 trays and so it was too thick, so it took more than 10 hours to cook. In fact I finally just turned the oven off and went to bed. in the morning it was done. I will definitely try again. It used a bunch of fruit and my kids are excited to have home made fruit leather for snacks.
Still more plums… hmmmm didn’t Marilla Cuthburt in “Anne of Green Gables” Make some kind of Cordial? How would I do that? Enter Plum Cordial. Now I have a large jar of that brewing. Why not?
And there are still more plums. At least enough for 2 more batches of plum butter or some fruit leather. Or both?
Now the peaches and pears are in. At least the pears need a couple of days to ripen. i think my crock pot is going to get a workout.