Anyone who has a plum tree in their garden knows that there are never just a few ripe plums. Some fruit trees ripen slowly and each fruit ripens at its own pace. This is not always the case with plum trees. All fruits of a plum tree ripen at the same time and more fruits are harvested than can be eaten at once. If you have too many, it’s good to know if you can freeze plums.
Can you freeze plums?
The easiest way to use up excess fruit is to freeze the ripe plums, aside from sharing them with friends and family. Freezing ripe summer plums preserves their flavor so they can be enjoyed later in the year. Plus, you can save ripe plums for later preparation when you have more time or cooler weather and are more willing to turn on the hot oven.
Plums can stay frozen long enough, but that also depends on how you froze them. Frozen, raw (whole) and prepared fruit can be used for up to 6 months without losing color and texture. However, plums frozen in syrup or compote can be stored in the freezer for up to 12 months. To keep your frozen plums or plum slices longer than 6 months, you can also soak them in syrup. This way you can enjoy your favorite fruit and the dishes made with it all year round. You can also freeze the fruit in ready-made dishes such as crumble or jam.
To freeze raw plums, you need to make sure they are ripe, sweet, and juicy enough. To that end, you can test one of the plums from the batch before proceeding. They must not be green, overripe, hard, too grainy, spotted or wrinkled. Plums that are not yet ripe can be kept at room temperature for a few days so that they can ripen. This is important so that the fruit does not lose its taste and consistency when it is later thawed.
Freeze fresh plums for pies
With this method, you simply cut the plums in half, remove the stone, and freeze the fruit:
- To wash
All you have to do is rinse them well to get rid of any dirt.
- remove stone
Cut them in half and remove the stone.
- Pack and freeze
Place the plums in a thick freezer bag. You then need to remove the air from the bag and place it in the freezer.
Freeze plums without loss of taste
If you prefer to freeze your plums in wedges or slices, here is the best way to do it:
- To wash
Freezing plums involves gently rinsing and grating the fruit to remove any dirt.
Next, you can cut the plums into the desired shape and remove the pits and stems. When you have sliced all the fruit, you need to spread them out on a baking sheet without overlapping.
Cover the tray with cling film and freeze the plums until hard and dry.
Once they are firm, you can place all the plums in a freezer bag and fill it to the top.
- Freeze again
Then deflate the bag, seal it airtight and place it in the freezer.
How do you defrost pitted plums?
When it comes time to defrost your plums, you need to think about what you’re going to use them for. For smoothies you can use frozen plum slices straight from the freezer. For cakes or tarts, you should first defrost the plums in the refrigerator and then drain off the excess liquid before using them for baking.
Freeze plums with the stone
- Wash the plums
Wash the plums by gently rubbing the peel under cold running water. Don’t try to freeze too many plums at once. The fruit should freeze completely within 24 hours.
- Pack in plastic container
Pack whole fruit in plastic containers, leaving 1.5 to 2.5 cm between the fruit and the top of the container.
- Add a solution
If desired, add a syrup mixture of 3 cups sugar and 4 cups water to cover the fruit.
Note that it isn’t necessary to wrap the plums in syrup – they freeze well if you freeze the whole fruit. If you omit the syrup mixture, you can save on the added sugar as well.
- Seal and freeze
Place the lids on the plastic containers and freeze immediately at -18°C or below.
Defrosting frozen pitted plums
- In the fridge: About 6 to 8 hours per 500g of fruit.
- In the microwave on the Defrost setting: Turn the package over so it defrosts evenly.
- Under cold running water: wait 1/2 to 1 hour.
- To easily peel the thawed fruit, score the bottom of the plums with a small “X” using a paring knife. Place the scored fruit in a saucepan of boiling water for 20 to 30 seconds, then transfer to a saucepan filled with ice water. Once the plums have cooled, the skin can be easily peeled off.