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Sep 21, 2011 10:29 AM

How to make use of backyard plums

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. 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. 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

        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

          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

            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

          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


            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

              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


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

                1. re: bia81

                  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

                    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

                      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

                        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

                          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

                            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

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

              1. re: BangorDin

                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. 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. not a lot of ideas for plums other than
              plum sauce

              1. 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.