Using Up a Plum Glut – What to do with Plums

Lucky enough to have a plum tree in your garden? If you’re drowning in excess fruit and are wondering what you can do with the extra plums from your tree so that they don’t go to waste, we’ve got some ideas for you!

What can I do with all these plums?

Have a serious harvest on your hands and are wondering what to do with that plum glut? Our quick and easy ideas and recipies to use up those extra fruits will help you use them up without it getting boring!


Freezing Plums – A Guide to Freezing Your Extra Fruit

Can you freeze plums? The short answer is yes, freezing plums is a quick and easy process. If you’ve got the space in your freezer, you can try preserving your fruit to use in pies and sauces at your leisure.

How to Freeze Plums

  • Before freezing, ensure your plums are delicious and ripe. Juicy and sweet fruit will freeze best.
  • Wash your plums, cut them in half or into wedges and remove the stones.
  • Space out your plums on a baking sheet lined with baking paper and place in the freezer. This technique is called open freezing and helps the fruit retain it’s shape.
  • Once frozen, you can remove them from the trays and place them in plastic bags or storage containers.
  • If you intend on using your frozen plums in sauces or pies, you can jump straight to putting them in bags and freezing them.
  • Depending on what you’ll be using your plums for, you might wish to remove the skins before freezing to make them quick and easy to use when you defrost.

Don’t have a lot of freezer space for plums? Bottling fruit is easy to do and is an alternative preserving method – it doesn’t take up valuable freezer space and the preserved fruit can be stored at room temperature.

Plums, ready to be frozen.

Drink Your Glut: How To Make Plum Vodka

Making plum vodka is very simple, and easy to adapt to your own taste. You’ll need a large pan, sterilised bottles and muslin.

  • Depending how sweet your plums are, combine them in a pan with up to half their weight in caster sugar.
  • Now add vodka – 75cl per 500g – and bring very, very slowly to a gentle simmering point, just to dissolve the sugar.
  • Stir well, then pour the whole lot into sterilised bottles, seal, and move to a cool, dark place.
  • Give the bottles a gentle shake whenever you remember.
  • After three months, strain the vodka through muslin and pour into a fresh bottle.
  • You could add your own twists to this recipe, by including a few pieces of orange zest, a pinch of cinnamon or some fresh ginger (add before heating).
  • Drink & enjoy or perhaps your plum vodka would make a great festive gift if your harvest was early enough.

Preserve Your Glut: Easy Plum Jam Recipe

Jam or chutney is a useful way to use up a plum glut. Jam is delicious inside Victoria sponges or sandwiched between uncooked shortbread layers to make a tea-time treat. It’s super-easy to whip up, too.

You’ll need some equipment: a large (non-aluminium) saucepan, a wooden spoon, and sterilised jars (Kilner jars, with rubber seals, are good). Before you start making your jam, place two saucers in the freezer.


  • Choose firm plums – overripe ones won’t have enough pectin to set the jam.
  • Weigh them before you begin.
  • Halve the plums and put into a large saucepan, then heat gently until they soften (if very firm, add a spoonful of water to help them melt down a bit).
  • Add the same weight in sugar, and heat gently, stirring, to dissolve it.
  • It’s important to make sure all of the sugar is dissolved because otherwise you’ll get gritty crystals in the finished jam.
  • Finally raise the heat and stew the jam for another ten minutes or so, until it starts to look ready.
  • Test by dropping a little onto one of your cold saucers.
  • If it wrinkles when pushed, it’s ready for bottling.
  • Pour carefully into warm, sterilised jars, seal, and label.

Ideas for other Plum Preserves and Sauces

Plum chutney is a good partner for roast duck or cheese ploughman platters. Plum sauce is a popular ingredient in Chinese cookery. To make your own, adapt your favourite plum chutney recipe, using Chinese rice vinegar instead of wine vinegar, and adding a generous piece of ginger (chopped) and garlic (minced).


Eat Your Glut Now: Plum Tarte Tatin

This is a really easy tart to make – all you need is a wide pan that can be put into the oven – and it makes the most of ready-made puff pastry.

Ingredients:

  • 200g ready-made puff pastry (choose an all-butter version)
  • 6-10 plums, stoned and halved
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp butter

Instructions:

  • Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C.
  • Set an ovenproof pan on the hob, and melt the butter.
  • Sprinkle the sugar over it, then arrange the plums carefully over the top (cut side down) in a concentric pattern.
  • Cook on a low heat until the sugar and butter starts to caramelise on the plums (lift one to check).
  • If the plums have released juices, turn up the heat briefly to drive off excess water.
  • Roll out the pastry, prick gently with a fork, then press it over the plums, tucking in the edges.
  • Put the pan into the oven for around 15 minutes, until the pastry is golden and risen.
  • Remove from the oven and turn out onto a plate (quickly), replacing any plums that stick in the pan.
  • Serve with ice-cream

Another easy plum dessert is crumble: soften the plums as instructed below, then tip into an ovenproof dish and smother with a mixture of oats, Demerara sugar, almonds and diced butter.

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