Anyone with a plum tree knows this much to be true: you never have just a few ripe plums.
Some fruit trees ripen gently, with individual fruits ripening at their own pace. Not so much with plum trees. All the fruit on a plum tree tends to be ripe all at the same instance, and it tends to be much more than any one person (or household) can use fresh.
By far the easiest way to deal with the glut—besides giving part of the harvest away to plum-tree-less folks—is to freeze ripe plums.
Freezing them allows you to keep the fresh flavor of ripe summer plums to enjoy later in the year, and freezing is also a great way to set aside ripe plums to cook when you have more time. Note that this same method works for freezing apricots, pluots, peaches, and nectarines, too.
To Freeze Plums:
- Halve and pit however many plums you want to freeze. Peel them, if you like.
- Cut the plums into wedges or however you think you'll want to use them later (slices or cubes are good; or you can leave them as halves, if you like).
- Lay the peeled and cut plums on baking sheets in a single layer.
- Put the trays in a freezer until the plums are frozen through; this will take anywhere from several hours to overnight depending on your freezer and how thick the plum pieces are.
- Transfer the frozen plums to resealable plastic bags or other air-tight container(s). Keep, frozen, until ready to use – up to six months.
What to Do With Frozen Plums:
- Use them in baked goods like this Plum Tart or this Plum . If using frozen plums to make jams or cook into a pie, there is no need to defrost the plums first, just start cooking with the frozen plums!
- Freezing plums allows you to set them aside and turn them into jam (or chutney) when the weather has cooled down and you have time to mind the bubbling pot.
- Use pieces or wedges of frozen plum as "ice cubes" in iced tea, lemonade, or any other drink that could use a hit of plummy sweetness.
- Pop wedges of frozen plums in a blender to make smoothies.
Frozen plums will keep about 6 months in a freezer attached to a fridge, and up to a year in a stand-alone freezer. More time will start to degrade the quality of the plums, but isn't necessarily dangerous. If you find some plums that have been in there a bit longer than is ideal, turn them into jam (the texture doesn't matter!).