Friday, May 28, 2010

Freezing Plums

We have a plum tree that has given us more plums than I have ever seen. Ever. I have actually never eaten a plum until this year, off of our tree. They're really good and sweet!

In addition to canning plums (which I'll post about later), I've been freezing them. It's much less time consuming than canning and frozen plums are great for cobblers and pies.

We never thinned the fruit off of our plum tree, so some of the plums are pretty small. Others are larger, about the size of a ping pong ball. Our plums will never grow as big as you see in the store because this is a variety that is adapted to our area.

Now, on to the freezing.

Rinse the plums. These were straight out of the bucket and haven't been rinsed, yet.

Before I ordered a cherry pitter, I was cutting the pits out. Chopping the plum to bits isn't bad for jelly, but for canning and freezing I wanted them to be whole...just without that pesky pit. So, I ordered a cherry pitter and had it shipped overnight. The plums couldn't wait and neither could I!

I didn't know they made these things until I searched for a better way to pit my plums. It works nicely!

Place the plum in the slot. Some of my plums are too big for this handy dandy contraption, so I just gently squeeze them in! Sometimes the skin breaks a little, but it's no big deal.


And out pops the pit!

You can't even tell! The plum stays nice and intact, perfect for freezing.

The ratio of plums to sugar I use is 1 part sugar to 5 parts plums. So, I pitted 5 cups of plums and then added 1 cup of sugar. Stir and let the juices of the plums dissolve the sugar. This should take about 10 minutes.

These plums have been sitting and the sugar has dissolved. I give them a stir every once in a while to help the sugar, but they really don't require much attention. This batch is ready to bag.

To help me out, I used a plastic cup. I folded the edges of the bag over the cup to cut down on the mess. It's also a good idea to label your bags before you do this. Marking them after they are full is a little harder.

Don't forget to pour all of the juice/syrup out of the bowl into the bag. That's the really good stuff! Now, just push as much of the air out as you can and stick in the freezer!

To help them freeze flat, I layered my full bags in a 9" x 13" casserole dish and put the whole dish into the freezer overnight. Once the bags are completely frozen, I take them out of the dish and stack them up!


If you decide that you don't want to freeze your plums with sugar, you can also just pack them in quart bags "dry". I also did about four quarts of those. That way, I can just thaw them out and add the amount of sugar the recipe I'm using requires. I also froze my "dry" plums in 4 cup portions instead of 5 cups. Many of the recipes I've seen use 4 cups of plums.

Just tryin' to make my life easier!


ChrissyK said...

I have an amazing recipe for Orange Plum Jam. Very Yummy! I'll send it with Stephen.

Joanne said...

I can't believe that you've never eaten a plum before this year! We love them!

Cathy said...

I love plums! If you have too many you can always send them my way!!!

Bonobo said...

hanks for your simple yet effective recipe. I have now spent all day bagging plums.

I am now sick of plums and will probably never take them out of the freezer.

But thanks.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for posting this! This is our exact scenario and I also simply don't have the time to 'can' our first bumper crop right now. I feel certain your post is helping so many more people than you know.
With appreciation!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this advice! I found a cherry pitter that does four at a time that I really like. I can sometimes do only 2 depending on the plum size, but it has a tray for catching the seed and the juice and it works great. You have saved me lots of hours of work!

Anonymous said...

BB&B didn't have a cherry pitter, but a customer told the associate helping me they used a hard plastic straw to pit their plums. It worked!

anonymous said...

Nice post! Photos are clear and explicit, as are the instructions. We received a lot of plums this year and a cherry pitter would have been handy; I'm going to look for one! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the cherry pitter suggestion. You saved me hours and hours of time. Also, I now know what to do with more plums than I have ever seen at one time.