Michigan Fresh: Using, Storing, and Preserving Plums (HNI114)

Plums can be preserved and served many ways. Michigan-grown plums are available mid-July through September.

Using, Storing and Preserving Plums

Recommended varieties 

Early Magic, Early Golden, Methley, Shiro, Vibrant, Vanette, Santa Rosa, Starking Delicious, Ozark Premier, Burbank, Redheart, Rubyqueen, Castleton, NY6, Fortune, Early Italian, Stanley, Lydecker, Simka, Valor, N9, Bluefre, Long John, Autumn Sweet, Blue Damson, Italian, Tulare Giant, Empress, Alderman.

Storage and food safety''

  • Purchase fruits that are not bruised or damaged.
  • Wash hands before and after handling fresh produce.
  • Keep away from raw meat and meat juices to prevent cross-contamination.
  • For best quality and to preserve nutrients, preserve no more than your family can consume in one year. 

Yield 

  • 14 pounds per 7-quart canner load
  • 9 pounds per 9-pint canner load
  • 1 bushel is 56 pounds—22 to 36 quarts, average of 2 pounds per quart

How to Preserve

Canning

Quality: Select deep-colored, mature fruit of ideal quality for eating fresh or cooking. Plums may be packed in water or syrup.

Stem and wash plums. To can whole, prick skins on two sides of plums with a fork to prevent splitting. Freestone varieties may be halved and pitted. If you use syrup, prepare very light, light or medium syrup.

Hot pack – Add plums to water or hot syrup and boil 2 minutes. Cover saucepan and let stand 20 to 30 minutes. Fill jars with hot plums and cooking liquid or syrup, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.

Raw pack – Fill jars with raw plums, packing firmly. Add hot water or syrup, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.

Remove air bubbles, wipe rims, adjust lids and process.

Syrups for Use in Canning Fruits

Type of Syrup

Percent Sugar*

Cups of Sugar** Per Quart Liquid

Yield of Syrup in Cups

How Syrup is Used Commercially

Very light

10%

½

4 ½

 

Light

20%

1

4 ¾

Very sweet fruit

Medium

30%

1 ¾

5

Sweet apples, sweet cherries, berries, grapes

Heavy

40%

2 ¾

5 1/3

Tart apples, apricots, sour cherries, gooseberries, nectarines, pears, peaches, plums

Very Heavy

50%

4

6

Very sour fruit

*Approximate

**In general, up to one-half of the sugar may be replaced by corn syrup or mild-flavored honey. A larger proportion of corn syrup may be used if a very bland, light-colored type is selected. 


Processing directions for canning plums in a boiling-water bath or a dial- or weighted-gauge pressure canner are given in Table 1, Table 2, and Table 3.

Table 1. Recommended process time for plums, halved or whole, in a boiling-water canner.

                                                                                                              Process time (in minutes) at altitudes of
Style of pack Jar size 0-1,000 ft. 1,001-3,000 ft. 3,001-6,000 ft. Above 6,000 ft.
Hot or raw Pints  20 25 30 35
Hot or raw Quarts 25 30 35 40

 

Table 2. Process times for plums in a dial-gauge pressure canner.

                                                                                                                                                                Canner pressure (PSI) at altitudes of
Style of pack Jar size Process time (min.) 0-2,000 ft. 2,001-4,000 ft. 4,001-6,000 ft. 6,001-8,000 ft.
Hot or raw Pints or Quarts 10 6 lb. 7 lb. 8 lb. 9 lb. 

 

Table 3. Process times for plums in a weighted-gauge pressure canner.

                                                                                                                           Canner pressure (PSI) at altitudes of
Style of Pack Jar size Process time (min.) 0-1,000 ft. Above 1,000 ft.
Hot or raw Pints or quarts 10 5 lb. 10 lb.

 

Let jars stand undisturbed for 24 hours, remove rings, wash jars, label, date and store. Food in jars that do not seal must be reprocessed in a clean jar with a new lid or refrigerated.

Freezing 

Preparation – Select firm, ripe fruit soft enough to yield to slight pressure. Sort and wash. Leave whole or cut in halves or quarters, and pit.

Syrup pack – Use cold 40 percent to 50 percent syrup, depending on tartness of fruit. For a better quality product, add 1/2 teaspoon (1500 mg) ascorbic acid per quart of syrup. Put plums directly into cold syrup in container, starting with 1/2 cup syrup to a pint container. Press fruit down and add syrup to cover, leaving headspace (amount of headspace varies by type of container). Seal, label, date and freeze.

Plum sauce – Boil well-ripened clingstone plums without water until soft; then remove pits and skins. Continue cooking the pulp and juice until it thickens. Add one part sugar (with spices, if desired) to four parts plums. Cool and package, leaving headspace. Seal, label, date and freeze.

 

Syrups for Use in Freezing Fruits

Type of Syrup

Percent Syrup *

Cups of Sugar **

Cups of Water

Yield of Syrup in Cups

Very light

10%

½

4

4 ½ cups

Light

20%

1

4

4 ¾ cups

Medium

30%

1 ¾

4

5 cups

Heavy

40%

2 ¾

4

5 1/3 cups

Very heavy

50%

4

4

6 cups

*Approximate

**In general, up to one-half of the sugar may be replaced by corn syrup or mild-flavored honey. A larger proportion of corn syrup may be used if a very bland, light-colored type is selected. 

References

  • Andress, Elizabeth, and Judy A. Harrison. 2006. So Easy to Preserve (fifth edition). Bulletin 989. University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service
  • Michigan Plum Advisory Board: www.michiganplum.com
  • National Center for Food Preservation. http://nchfp.uga.edu/

More information

Prepared by: Laurie Messing, MSU Extension educator

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