Of all the fruits I preserve in some way – freezing, canning, or drying – dried plums are probably my favorite. They are simply a wonderful chewy-tart snack that I eat almost as fast as I can dry them. It keeps me regular.
And they are NOT prunes – they don’t have that off-putting texture or smell, nor that distinctive prune-like flavor. And I don’t care that the people who make prunes got together a few years ago and decided to call them “dried plums.” The dried plums I make don’t taste anything like their packaged product, so theirs are still prunes in my book.
When you start with Italian plums which are naturally drier (and more sweet-tart) than traditional round plums and dry them to a pliable, yet fully dry stage they are like small pieces of fruit leather. They may look odd, but they are packed with flavor.
Drying plums is also one of the easiest preservation methods there is. I can fill my food dehydrator in about half an hour and then it’s a matter of checking, turning, and bagging the plums as they dry over the next 10 or so hours. The hands-on time is ridiculously minimal.
So let's get started!
Here are the easy steps to dry Italian plums with a dehydrator:
- After washing, slice the plums in half all the way around the pit.
- Grab each half of a plum and twist gently to separate the halves. Remove and discard the pit.
- Place halves cut side up on the dehydrator tray. It’s OK to pack them close together.
- Dry according to manufacturer’s recommendations. Depending on the size of the plums, start checking them in 4 to 6 hours, turning trays as needed for even dehydrating. Once they are looking more dry, flip them over to complete drying (they’ll release from the trays the drier they are – leave them if they are too moist). Check every 2 hours, removing and packaging up any that are fully dry – showing NO moisture when touched, but are still pliable- and leaving the rest to complete drying.
If you have no room in your freezer, then you can test them by packaging your dried fruit up and leaving them on the counter for a day or so – if there is any condensation at all in the jar or baggie, the fruit was not dried completely. Then you can choose to dry them some more or freeze them for longer storage, or just eat them all cause they won't last anyways.