I talked to a friend yesterday and she said she had some Italian prunes for me. They have 4 trees, I think, and her family is grown and out of the house so she doesn't do as much canning and preserving as she used to. She is very generous with her fruit as we picked plums from her other plum tree in August and I made some jam from them. The jam is a dark blush color and has a very light taste.
After church I drove over to her car and in the back she had two huge boxes of Italian prunes. Wow! Jackpot. Now, I have never processed plums before this summer and only did so because I was blessed with her bounty that she had shared. I rarely buy plums in the store because they are never very good, can be mealy and have little flavor and I don't like the texture. The plums I made jam with from her first tree were very good and we ate our fair share. But I had never in my life had Italian prunes before. They are outstanding. They have a dark purple skin with yellowish-gold flesh, and are about the size of a medium egg or smaller. They are sweet, tasty and wonderful.
So, this afternoon I have been pitting plums. They pit very easily like a freestone peach. I canned up 14 quarts in a light syrup. The juice after they have processed in the canner is a pomegranate color and looks lovely. I then proceeded to pit more but left them attached as I didn't cut all the way through. I put up 3 gallon size freezer bags full and then I had some leftover syrup from canning and quartered some more and put up 2 pints with a light syrup for the freezer.
I am now drying 6 full trays for prunes. I hear they are superb. I still have about 2/3 of the second box left to process. I'm not sure what I will be doing with them but will probably dry some more and make some fruit leather. I love that these don't need any pretreatment as this moves the show on a lot faster.
Since I have never had canned plums before, does anyone have any suggestions for their use? I have thought about making a plum crisp, but I don't have many other ideas. Also, suggestions for the frozen plums would be appreciated. Well, time to get rest of the kitchen cleaned up before dinner and take the few unusable plums out to the chickens.