Jul 6, 2023
Plums are good to add to your food supply because of their sweet, juicy tartness. However, they require cold storage, and you only have enough space in your fridge. Here’s how to freeze dry plums to have shelf-stable food without worrying about cold storage.
Any variety works as long as you enjoy the taste and flavor. But if you haven’t explored the plum world, two categories divide them. One is the Japanese (a.k.a. Chinese) plum, which grows up to 2 inches in diameter. The other is the European or Italian plum, which is a dry plum variety.
Let’s start with the most common ones, which are under the Japanese variety:
Now, the underrated ones are the European variety, but they’re equally juicy and delicious.
Cleaning and sorting are always the first steps when you freeze-dry plums. Take out pieces with insect marks, as they’re usually rotten inside. Afterward, since the flesh of the plum is tender, wash them gently but thoroughly under running water. Then wipe everything dry using a clean kitchen or paper towel.
Cut the plum in half with your knife going around the pith. Afterward, grasp the fruit with both hands and twist it in opposite directions. This will split the fruit in half and expose the core so you can use a spoon to take out the seed.
Most cut the plum in wedges or slice them since it’s the easiest and most convenient way to process plums. Others make simple slices straight across the fruit. If you want chunky pieces, cubes would be nice as well. Whatever shape you prefer, the pieces should only be 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick.
When it comes to food with high moisture content, pre-freezing is necessary. Plum has about 88.86% moisture, almost the same as pineapples. When all that moisture becomes ice crystals, your freeze dryer will work more efficiently. This is because freeze dryers remove moisture by sublimating ice crystals into vapor.
Though the right change of temperature and pressure application, ice crystals don’t need to pass the liquid phase. They evaporate directly into vapor, leaving air pockets that make your freeze-dried fruit light, airy, crunchy, and packed with flavor.
But enough physics. Practically speaking, it’s highly economical. You already have a freezer running, right? So why not utilize the freezer space and pre-freeze. This way, you shorten the freeze-drying cycle considerably.
When you freeze dry, remember to use ice-cold trays for freeze drying. Let your freeze dryer precool for 15-30 minutes until the chamber is -8°F (-22 °C) or lower.
Plums take 29-34 hours to freeze dry. The time can be shorter or longer, depending on several factors like:
The best way to know if the plums are ready is to test them when the trays are still warm. The freeze-dried plum should be dry, airy, and crunchy. If any of the pieces feel cool, moist, and a bit chewy, put the trays back for 2-4 hours of extra dry time.
Reconstituting plums will bring them back almost as close to their fresh feel as possible. Place the freeze-dried plums in a bowl and pour cold water until you fully submerge all the slices. Let it sit in the fridge for 15-30 minutes, maybe even longer, to fully absorb the water.
You have two ways to store your freeze-dried plums.
We’ve got kids always looking for snacks, so we keep some in Mason jars. They’re resealable and reusable, so they’re good for on-demand use. The only downside is that they’re heavy, fragile, and occupy space.
These bags are ideal for long-term storage. You can count on them to keep your freeze-dried plums fresh and safe to eat. They’re easy to seal, don’t take up much space, and very lightweight. You can bring them with you on camping or road trips without worrying about the container getting broken,
Once you choose your receptacle, remember to use oxygen absorbers. They take out residual oxygen that causes spoilage on stored food. About 1-2 packets of 300cc OAs are good for every gallon size of your container.
Your freeze-dried plums can last for 25 years or more as long as you store them properly. After tightly sealing your food containers, keep them in a cool, dark place with a temperature lower than 72°F (22 °C) and a relative humidity level of 15% or less.
Freeze-dried plums give you a unique taste and flavor experience. It’s a mess-free way of eating highly nutritious fruit and preserving them for times of shortage.
How many plums are you planning to freeze dry? Let us know your story in the comment section.
Want more freeze-drying tips? Subscribe to our YouTube Channel and hit the bell to get notified on new freeze-drying videos.