so many plums, so little patience
June 13, 2022 1:17 PM   Subscribe

I neglected to thin the fruit on my Santa Rosa plum tree, with the result that I have a fairly large number of very small plums. The flavor is fine (Santa Rosas are only ok anyway) but they are a cling variety, so the stone doesn't come out clean, and they're so little that cutting the stone out of each one seems like way too much trouble for such small fruit.

Is there a method that would allow me to cook these to some usefully preserveable form (spiced plum butter maybe?) WITHOUT taking the stones out first - something that would make it so the stones would come off easy and be easy to pick out later? What if I froze them whole, first - would that soften them up so that cooking to pulp would be easy?

Please only answer if you've tried it and know it works.
posted by fingersandtoes to Food & Drink (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Can you cook them and then put the cooked stuff through a food mill?
posted by SeedStitch at 1:25 PM on June 13, 2022 [1 favorite]

I don’t bother to remove the stones—just simmer with some sugar and spices nd maybe balsamic vinegar. Then, if I want to refrigerate them or serve over ice cream, I try to fish out the stones with a iced-tea spoon.
posted by Ideefixe at 1:28 PM on June 13, 2022 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I usually freeze them whole; when they thaw they've lost a lot of their structural integrity and I just cut them in half and sort of smoosh the stones out and toss them aside. This is usually the first step to cooking them down into a jam or compote, so I don't care what it ends up looking like (it's very unattractive).
posted by assenav at 2:09 PM on June 13, 2022 [5 favorites]

You could try making a shrub. Here's a plum shrub recipe that calls for whole, unpitted plums.
posted by Lexica at 3:12 PM on June 13, 2022 [3 favorites]

I use a steam juicer to extract the juice to make plum wine. Then I pick the pits out of the pulp and dry it for fruit leather.
I've also cooked them down for jam and removed the pits later. Make sure you let it cool first!
Anything that cooks the plums will loosen the pits.
posted by arrmatie at 7:02 PM on June 13, 2022

Some years, I have a lot of mirabelle plums. This recipe does what I do: cook the plums and then remove the pits with a spoon, it's much easier than pitting the plums before cooking. I've also been known to run the cooked plums gently through a sieve to get a clear liquid that I make into a jelly flavored with chili. The jelly is for eating with roasts, or for flavoring sauces.
posted by mumimor at 8:45 PM on June 13, 2022

You could try making umeboshi. We did this with a neighbor's overflowing plum tree several years ago and the results get better with each year they ferment. Currently (~3 years in?) they taste like salty, sour olives.
posted by jshttnbm at 4:39 AM on June 14, 2022 [2 favorites]

Best answer: A few years back I was in the same situation with a large volume of smallish cling plums of a random backyard variety. Since I was dealing with so many, I was sure cooking them first was the way to go so I sallied forth without testing. Don't be me. Try cooking a small amount whole and/or try assenav's freezing approach to make sure one of these approaches works for your crop.

And if you don't like either, I present my 2-pronged approach that I used the following year:

I sliced the cheeks off the plums, cooked half into jam and froze half for use in the NYT Plum Torte, crisps, etc. Since they were small, I used them straight out of the freezer.

Then, I took the middle sections containing the stones and cooked those with some sugar and water to make a syrup/puree for shrubs, sodas, sauces, etc. Cook it, let it cool, then put the mixture into a colander nested in a larger bowl. The thin puree will drain off, then use your hands to stir and mash the pits together and push the thicker pulp through the holes. This puree mixture can be cooked down further, spiced, etc. The final product can also be frozen for longer storage.
posted by jenquat at 6:27 PM on June 14, 2022

« Older Pulpy military SF with awesome space battles   |   Canadian wants to come to US, lacks ID, in limbo Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments