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Dried Plums and Fruit Leather by Accident

September 17, 2009 | Fruit, Technique

Italian Plum Tree Harvest day finally arrived in my yard. I’ve been shaking the tree each morning and eating the few plums that fell off, but with over a hundred still left on the tree and between my planned trip out of town, the squirrel I’m sharing the tree with, and the changing weather, I decided it was time to harvest yesterday and dry the rest of the fruit.
You probably all know that prunes are dried plums – did you know that people are starting to call them dried plums because of the bad vibe that the very word prunes sends out? Funny how one word can conjure up images!

I started with a bowl of plums – this might be deceiving, but this is actually a very large bowl and it contains 12 dozen plums – yep, 144 just waiting to be sliced open and have the pits removed.
Once that was done I laid them on my silpat mats (so I wouldn’t have to clean up the mess from pans and they wouldn’t stick to foil) on baking sheets – 3 in total. I put the plums cut side up so they juices would concentrate into them as they dried.
I had read multiple recipes for drying plums and most said to dry them in a 200 degree oven for 3-4 hours, then let them just sit in the oven (turned off) overnight. Well this is what my plums looked like after a few hours, so I decided to lower the oven temp to 150 and let them stay in a heated oven all night.
That did the trick, because by this morning, this is what they looked like. They are quite dried compared to fresh fruit, but still moist and chewy, so I plan to store them in the freezer just to prevent anything from growing on them.
See that puddle of juice that is surrounding the plums?
Once I pulled up all of the plums, I happily discovered that the juices had turned into a deliciously sweet little fruit leather.
It’s certainly not pretty, but it tastes great and wasn’t a bad way at all to start my day! You can also oven dry tomatoes like this and they will be much cheaper than store bought sundried tomatoes.
I’m off to the Colorado Mountain Winefest Weekend in Palisade today – back on Monday!

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