Help, I have one million prune plums
October 6, 2019 7:53 PM   Subscribe

I have one million Italian prune plums. I spent the day baking five plum tortes, successfully using up .001% of them. I don't want to just freeze them because I know from sad experience that I suck and will never use them that way. Also, I'm tired and don't have much free time. Ideas?
posted by HotToddy to Food & Drink (20 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Leave them in an unguarded icebox labeled FOR BREAKFAST.

More seriously, make plum jam, or give them to someone who will make plum jam and give you some.
posted by zamboni at 8:06 PM on October 6 [34 favorites]

I got a dehydrator for my surplus harvest when I realized that we eat a lot more dried fruit than we do jam.
posted by clew at 8:54 PM on October 6 [5 favorites]

I realize you just baked a ton of plum tortes, but the best way to use up Italian plums is an old-school recipe for German Zwetschgenkuchen. The tartness of the Italian plums (Zwetschgen) really makes this recipe, and the best thing is that you can cram in pounds and pounds of plums. I poke the plum quarters upright into the dough and very close together so that they look like little soldiers at attention and typically use about 2 lbs per cake. You can make this either with a yeasted dough or a non-yeasted shortbread type dough. They are both delicious.
posted by The Elusive Architeuthis at 9:12 PM on October 6 [6 favorites]

The Elusive Architeuthis is almost correct, the best way to use up Italian plums is specifically my family's plum kuchen recipe, which appears to be a simpler version of the non-yeasted recipe they've linked to. We slice our prune plums just in half (they should be small enough that this is not absurd) and stack them like shingles.

I would note that there's a reason these are called prune plums, and that if you have access to or can hack together a dehydrator some homemade prunes will be mind-blowingly delicious and you can give little parcels of them as holiday gifts to supplement or replace some baked goods.
posted by Mizu at 9:21 PM on October 6

You probably have a Food Bank near you. Bag them up, donate them. Food Banks tend to get lots of starchy and canned donations - fresh fruits and vegetables are always welcome.
posted by kestralwing at 10:08 PM on October 6 [9 favorites]

Where I live (probably not where you live!) there is a charity that will come get the fruit off your tree then take it away to do something delicious with it (make jam etc), so they can donate it to people with low food-security. There may be something similar where you live?
posted by BeeJiddy at 10:18 PM on October 6 [2 favorites]

I like to make fruit leather with them (plums, lemon juice, cinnamon, a little tiny bit of salt)! I think you can do it without a dehydrator, but it’s super easy with one. If you happened to be in Seattle I’d seriously offer to dehydrate some for you. Also, you can make them into yummy plum butter by pureeing them, then cooking the purée down for a very long time on a low temperature. Some people add sugar when they do this, but I think it’s fine without. Both of these use up a lot of plums and last a long time.
posted by centrifugal at 10:49 PM on October 6 [1 favorite]

Plum butter! Also, I always just fill the piping hot plum butter (and jam in general) into the still hot, just-sterilized pots and skip canning them, and I’ve never had a problem in my 15+ years of making jams and fruit butters.

And I’m German, my family's plum kuchen recipe us similar to the yeasted one, but without Streusel (and plums cut in half, not in quarters). Definitely serve with whipped cream!
posted by eierschnee at 11:14 PM on October 6

Last time I had a million plums, I made a jelly out of some of them, and I put chili flakes in some of the jelly. Then I used the jelly in sauces for both flavor and consistency. I regret I didn't make more.
posted by mumimor at 12:22 AM on October 7 [2 favorites]

Food banks LOVE receiving excess garden produce.
posted by Jacqueline at 2:39 AM on October 7 [2 favorites]

Wine? This recipe uses 5 pounds per gallon of water so if you did a 5 gallon batch you would be using up 25 pounds.
posted by koolkat at 2:49 AM on October 7 [3 favorites]

Make Georgian plum sauce.
posted by k8t at 2:52 AM on October 7

First, I'm so jealous. I grew up with one of those trees in our backyard orchard and I miss them terribly. Probably a level of time and energy that you're not prepared to undertake, but we would can the plums every fall. We also did this for the pears, apricots, cherries, and peaches that grew alongside the plum tree. The plums and cherries went into the jars pits and all. It was great being able to grab a jar of fruit anytime the feeling hit and this kept us in fruit all winter long.
posted by newpotato at 3:31 AM on October 7

Plum gin (plums, gin, sugar + time, to oversimplify it) is good. You'll probably end up with a slightly orange-coloured liqueur rather than the deep purple that sloes or damsons bring, but it should still bring that summer-in-a-bottle taste.
posted by scruss at 6:02 AM on October 7 [3 favorites]

Mostarda might fit the bill!
posted by thirdletter at 6:22 AM on October 7

A second vote for dehydrating then. So good on oatmeal! Or use instead of raisins in baked goods.
posted by vespabelle at 7:29 AM on October 7

Another vote for jam! I made some this summer on a whim with plums from a neighbour's trees (with permission) and it was a surprise favourite.
posted by bibliotropic at 8:33 AM on October 7

Make Powidl, a fruit paste without added sugar.

My mother makes it in the oven instead of on the stove top, at low heat.
The recipe i linked calls cinnamon and lemon and rum, tbh we make it without and it is lovely to only taste plums.
It keeps a long time and uses up lots of plums.
As no sugar is added it is also healthy.
posted by 15L06 at 9:53 AM on October 7 [1 favorite]

Dehydrating them will be the absolute simplest way to go. Wash, halve, remove pit, put on tray, dry in oven. Here are specs about temp and time from Martha Stewart, and a little bit of embellishment if you're so inclined.

Lucky you--I moved 3,000 miles away from my prune plum tree and I still miss it, ten years later.
posted by Sublimity at 3:15 PM on October 7

Another vote for dehydrating in the oven. That's what I've been doing with my bumper crop of cherry tomatoes.
posted by she's not there at 6:47 PM on October 7

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