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How to make use of backyard plums

bia81 Sep 21, 2011 10:29 AM

I have a tree full of plums, and I would like to make something that I can freeze.

I am not a gourmet, but I do have a Champion Juicer.

I searched the web for simple recipes for freezing, but did not find anything that seemed right.

Can anyone recommend a simple recipte for making plum butter or jam for freezing?

If it does not involve cooking, so much the better.


Single Dad with young (picky eater) son

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  1. chefathome RE: bia81 Sep 21, 2011 11:18 AM

    Last week I made some lovely roasted plum jam but it does involve cooking, unfortunately. I believe I also have a recipe for jelly but that, too, requires cooking. Same with plum butter. I do not think you can make plum butter without cooking, can you?

    1. b
      BangorDin RE: bia81 Sep 21, 2011 11:32 AM

      Even freezer jam needs to be cooked, I'm afraid. Plums can be frozen, you can google instructions, here's some:
      "Plums and
      prunes Select firm, deep-colored fruit. Sort and wash. Leave whole or cut in halves or quarters. Pack in 40 percent syrup. Add 1/2 teaspoon ascorbic acid per quart of syrup. Or pack whole fruit into containers without sugar or syrup."
      You can later use the plums in hot cereal, or yogurt, over waffles or pancakes, etc.

      15 Replies
      1. re: BangorDin
        bia81 RE: BangorDin Sep 21, 2011 01:14 PM

        I see other sites that say never to freeze plums whole, or even halved, as they will turn out mushy and ... um disgusting.

        It is hard to know what to believe.

        1. re: bia81
          BangorDin RE: bia81 Sep 21, 2011 02:32 PM

          Well, here's someone who has done it, you could take a look and see what you think, maybe even contact her.
          You won't have a fresh plum texture, but if heated the sweetened plums could be good on oatmeal or even ice cream.

          1. re: BangorDin
            geminigirl RE: BangorDin Sep 21, 2011 06:25 PM

            I've done this with pretty good luck. I halved the plums, pitted, and then mixed them with some sugar and let meld a bit before freezing. I used them in a plum tart (I think Marion Burros) and it turned out well, just needs a little extra time in the oven.

            Oh, and you could always put them in the dehydrator, no cooking!

        2. re: BangorDin
          Jen76 RE: BangorDin Sep 21, 2011 07:03 PM

          You don't have to cook freezer jam if you use Ball Instant Pectin. Just mash the fruit (I'd recommend peeling plums), add sugar and pectin according to instructions on the pectin container and stir. I just finished some plum freezer jam.


          1. re: Jen76
            bia81 RE: Jen76 Sep 22, 2011 05:27 AM


            I bought some Ball Instant No-Cook Freezer Pectin. 4.7 oz powder, no packets.

            To make 16 oz of jam it says, use "12/3 cups" of fruit, 2/3 cups of sugar, and 2 TBSP of pectin, etc.

            What in the world do they mean by "12/3 cups"? 4 cups?
            Is that a misprint?

            I assume 2/3 cups of sugar means 2/3 cup of sugar.

            Thanks for any clarity.

            Single Dad

            1. re: bia81
              Jen76 RE: bia81 Sep 22, 2011 06:46 AM

              It's actually 1 and 2/3 cup.

              So, for every 2 cups of finished jam, you'll need:
              - 1 and 2/3 cups of mashed fruit
              - 2/3 cup of sugar
              - 2 tablespoons of pectin

              The most jam you should make at one time is 6 cups finished. So, multiply all of the above measurements by 3 and you get:

              - 5 cups mashed fruit
              - 2 cups sugar
              - 6 tablespoons pectin

              To make peeling the plums easier, score a little 'x' in the bottom of each plum, bring a big pot of water to a boil and drop a few plums in for about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Scoop them out and let them cool for a bit while you do a few more (a few at a time should keep the water boiling). The peels should loosen enough to make them easier to slip off.

              Cut all the fruit (you can use a food processor if you have one) and then mash a little with a potato masher. Measure the amount of mashed fruit you need and make your batches of jam. You can store in tupperware like containers, or you can buy jars (either glass or the plastic freezer jars with screwtop lids).

              1. re: Jen76
                bia81 RE: Jen76 Sep 22, 2011 07:38 AM


                I will follow the recipe that you gave above, which has no cooking.

                1. re: bia81
                  Jen76 RE: bia81 Sep 22, 2011 11:26 AM

                  Good luck!

                  You could probably also freeze the chopped, peeled plums with some sugar, too. Just sprinkle a generous amount of sugar over them, stir to incorporate, let them sit for a day in the fridge so they get a little syrupy, and then scoop into ziptop freezer bags. If you get more adventurous later on, you could use these in cooked recipes.

                  1. re: Jen76
                    bia81 RE: Jen76 Sep 22, 2011 03:19 PM

                    I made this, after using a juicer to make pulp and juice (which I put together after the juicing was over).

                    So I had about 6 cups of product (I expected 5, but I hate to throw away good food), which I mixed with
                    - 2 cups sugar
                    - 6 tablespoons pectin

                    I let it all set for 30 minutes, but it did not gel.

                    Anyway, I then put it in the freezer. We shall see.

                    Thanks for all the help.

                    Single Dad

                    1. re: bia81
                      Jen76 RE: bia81 Sep 22, 2011 04:18 PM

                      Probably too much liquid and not enough sugar/pectin. It might still set in the freezer. Sometimes the cold helps it gel. If nothing else, you can use it as a sauce.

                      1. re: Jen76
                        bia81 RE: Jen76 Sep 23, 2011 06:33 AM

                        Well, I thawed some of the jam, and tasted it.

                        it is not too runny, but it is - extremely - sweet.

                        When making the next batch, could I cut the sugar in half without affecting the gelling process? Does pectin need tons of sugar to work?


                        1. re: bia81
                          Jen76 RE: bia81 Sep 23, 2011 06:36 PM

                          You can certainly try it, but there are no guarantees it will work. Alternatively, if you are willing to attempt a little cooking, you can use a low/no sugar pectin which will set without sugar, but it will need to be heated.

                          1. re: Jen76
                            bia81 RE: Jen76 Oct 2, 2011 09:35 AM

                            A relative suggested that I simply pit the plums and run them through my juicer and toss the debris into my pot with my cooking apples, and then freeze everything.

                            That works out fine.

                            Thanks for all the suggestions and help.

                            single dad

            2. re: Jen76
              BangorDin RE: Jen76 Sep 22, 2011 09:42 AM

              Freezer jam without cooking! I did not know. Can you tell the difference in the final product?

              1. re: BangorDin
                Jen76 RE: BangorDin Sep 22, 2011 11:24 AM

                I've never cooked freezer jam, but it is definitely different from regular cooked/canned jam. The colors stay brighter and it's not as sweet or syrupy. I like both types of jam. I prefer strawberry uncooked, though. Just tastes more like fresh berries to me. I make a killer mango, blackberry, strawberry freezer jam. So good on plain yogurt.

          2. pilotgirl210 RE: bia81 Sep 21, 2011 11:34 AM

            Here's what I do when my plum tree goes bonkers:

            Clean your plums, cut them in half and put them in the juicer. No need to even pit them. From the juice, I make plum jelly. Super easy. A simple water bath and jars keep forever.

            1. iL Divo RE: bia81 Sep 21, 2011 11:42 AM

              not a lot of ideas for plums other than
              plum sauce

              1. sunshine842 RE: bia81 Sep 21, 2011 01:02 PM

                and liqueur! Don't forget the plum liqueur! (I have some aging in the basement right now...)

                Clafoutis with plums is a thing of beauty, too.

                1. b
                  bia81 RE: bia81 Sep 21, 2011 01:13 PM

                  I should have added:

                  I have no jars.

                  I really am wanting to use just freezer bags.

                  1. chefathome RE: bia81 Sep 21, 2011 01:33 PM

                    Maybe make a compote and freeze in bags? But that will also require cooking. Plum ketchup is fantastic but same thing applies.

                    1. Robin Joy RE: bia81 Sep 22, 2011 10:31 AM

                      Single Dad with young (picky eater) son?

                      You need plum gin:

                      1/3 fill an empty standard sized bottle with roughly chopped plums.
                      Add about 6 to 8 ounces of plain white sugar (demerera etc. sugar has too much flavour)
                      Top up with gin (or vodka)

                      Agitate weekly for 3 to 6 months (no point beyond 6, I find).

                      Strain through a clean cloth and enjoy as a neat sipping drink. Cherries work well too.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Robin Joy
                        Jen76 RE: Robin Joy Sep 22, 2011 11:27 AM

                        Ha! That sounds great! No "cooking" involved either.

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