Thankfully, neither Hubs nor myself have reached the stage in life where prunes are A Necessity! Although hubs does tend to fixate - just a wee bit too much - about his "Fiber Intake." (I'll spare you the details!).
Anyway, remember the other day?
Here, I'll remind you:
Yes, 15 lbs of plums...
And they've been ripening, rather exuberantly, both in the basket on my kitchen countertop, as well as on (or beneath!) the tree out back.
And when I say "ripening exuberantly" I mean they are fast-approaching a stage that might be more accurately called "rotting!" Friggin' Fruit Flies everywhere! Oh and REGULAR flies in the backyard, right?
We've got a BBQ/Pool Party coming up this weekend and I'd rather NOT have to subject our guests to a swarm of gnarly flies. So this morning I awoke to ouchy feet (Grrrr), but I was DETERMINED to go out and deal with the "beyond-exuberant" fruit lying under the trees. This included discarding the branches I'd chopped off of the broken peach-tree (Waaaahhhhh!!!) and the :::snif-snif::: "abundance" of lost fruit.
Now, our lot is appx 1/4 acre. And appx 1/4 of that is The Garden + Orchard. And there definitely ARE fruit trees and low-hanging branches and - truth be told - removing the rotting fruit was gonna present a challenge! Sadly, the Tractor Scoot was not the ideal tool for this endeavor (not enough space to maneuver around - at least not without putting an eye out via an errant branch!). The dog's Pooper-Scooper seemed like a viable option - except it was only good for plucking up, maybe, half a dozen fruits at a time. At that rate, I'd be working thru Christmas!
I momentarily debated turning the dogs loose back there - they'd make quick work of it! But then I'd end up having to clean-up an entirely different mess later (Ewwww!).
I ended up using a combination of a rake, a blue tarp, and a squishable bucket to relocate, scoop, and ultimately discard all of it. Filled-up my [Friggin' HUGE] Green-Bin, I did! And I managed to get it all done before the thermometer hit 90*! (Yay!).
Oh yes, I DO like 90+ temps - as long as I am sitting on my lazy @$$ in the shade of a palapa while nursing a frosty beverage! NOT when I have to perform manual labor! HA!
Anyway, after work this afternoon, I couldn't help but notice the fruit flies flitting around the sink. And, well, it's was starting to smell a bit too "fruity" for my liking. And after sweating like a pig, raking up dead peaches and plums, NATURALLY I wanted to spend my afternoon dealing with MORE plums! (And yes, BTW, the Farm Share delivery *did* include EVEN MORE FRIGGING PLUMS!!!).
Yep. We got plums!
So what the hell can I do with plums that DOESN'T require pitting? I Googled "Plum Juice" and learned that my juicer won't play-well with un-pitted plums ("Damn!"). Even those sites that I found for Prune-Making (and no, I didn't make note of any of 'em) mentioned that plums should be pitted before dehydrating.
Screw that - I know I've eaten prunes that DID have pits in 'em. And I'll be DAMNED if I'm gonna sit here and try to "pit" 15# of plums. No. Effin'. Way!
So I decided to make prunes - with SPLIT plums - so that means half of 'em will be pit-free!!!
This isn't exactly a recipe. I'll just describe what I did - in case you're crazy or desperate enough to want to try this.
First off: Most of the plum-making-instructional sites I reviewed recommended using a preservative. Most suggested potassium sorbate (which, I believe, is used in wine-making). I didn't have any, and I didn't feel like driving to a wine/beer-making shop. I decided to go with Fruit Fresh and Lemon Juice. No clue if that's the "right" thing to do - but whatevah! It's what I did!
So I set-up a large bowl with appx 6 oz water, I added appx 2-3 TBS of Fruit Fresh (Dextrose, Ascorbic Acid, Citric Acid and Silicon Dioxide - Hmmm, doesn't sound very "organic" does it?!), and appx 1/2 cup of bottled lemon juice.
I sliced the plums in half - discarding any that were too "exuberantly ripe" ("squishy!"). If I was able to extricate the pit, I did (some of the "firmer" plums did play-nice!). Then I dumped the halved fruits into the water/FF/lemon juice and let 'em soak for appx 10 minutes. Then I placed them, skin-side-down, on my dehydrator shelves.
PSA: If your plum-gooze-slathered hands slip, and you manage to slice yourself with the knife? Do not - I repeat - DO NOT use that hand to scoop the plums OUT of the lemon-juice/water bowl. ("You're Welcome!")
My Assembly Line
(Not pictured: The big ol' honkin' basket o' plums!)
I did this in several batches. And I paused for "breaks" in between. All told, it probably took a little over an hour. I ended up with this:
Completely-full Nesco SnackMaster dehydrator
(with optional "Add-A-Shelf" kit)
Now I didn't weigh how much I ended up with. I'm guessing it was around 10-11# worth of fruit (after tossing the squishy ones). I fired-up the dehydrator at 5:00pm tonight. No clue how long it's gonna take, but I'll check it tomorrow.
I have NO idea how this is gonna turn out - but I'm sure I'll be reporting back!
The good news is: The Santa Rosa plum tree is, pretty-much, done for the season (Yay!!!). But Satsuma Plum is about ready to *start* producing (Good Gawd - Save me from the madness!). Actually, this is Satsuma's first "producing year" so it shouldn't be too bad (She says, delusionally!).
In other news: Yesterday's Jam? Well, first off: It didn't "set" properly (DAMMIT!). No clue why! This batch of fruit wasn't as runny as the plum jam was, and I used the same quantities of fruit and pectin :::shrug:::
I did stick one jar in the fridge and it did thicken-up once it was chilled. I also sampled a taste of it and - DEFINITELY - omit the cloves. Waaaaaayyyy too strong - at least for jam. Now I'm sure it will taste simply delightful if it's used on, say, dessert crepes or something like that. Or maybe rolled into a puff pastry dough? But spread on your breakfast toast? Not so much.
And LASTLY: I ate the LAST JAR of Sweet Corn Apple Relish :::GASP:::
I swear, that sh*t is soooo good, I can eat it cold - straight out of the jar!
Anyway, I have a fridge full of fresh corn on the cob (and the Farm-Share added to THAT collection, as well!), and Celery (again, Thanks Farm-Share), and pretty-much everything I need to whip-up another batch! I think, if I find some energy, I might tackle that tonight! Can NOT run out of Sweet Corn Apple Relish. Noooooo!!!
Okay, was this post rambly enough?! (That was a rhetorical question!)
I know I've got more stuff to report on: Bee Saga Updates (I downloaded the pictures, at least!), and Aquarium News. The Garden - other than the trees - is still pretty quiet, overall. I'll try to get back to our "Regularly Scheduled Programming" shortly. In the meantime, I rather enjoy blathering mindlessly ;-)~