Sunday, August 16, 2015

Preserving Summer. 8.16.15

Sundried Hollywood Plums.  8.16.15

Sundried and Sun-drying tomatoes.  8.16.15
 There is so much now from the kitchen garden.  Can't eat it all at once.  I give some away.

Dried fruit from home garden is surprisingly good.  The near-black Hollywood plums are tart and sweet and concentrated plum flavor.  Like fresh ones but more intense.  Nothing like a prune, which is a dried European plum.

The home grown sun dried tomatoes are even better than store bought,  And store bought sun dried tomatoes are pretty good.

They don't have to be Roma tomatoes.  Ning taught me we can dry any kind.

With these fruits, we dry a few days in the sunroom.  During the day it is in the 120s there.  I can use a food dehydrator, but the sunroom works as well with no power.

Then they go into food bags into the freezer.

Freezer Jam.  Finally found instant pectin.  The advantage is, instant pectin does not need to be dissolved.  No water needs to be added.  So the jam is just fruit, some sugar, and pectin.
Today's Harvest.  8.16.15
 For grapes, only 1/2 the recipe amount of sugar is needed.  Maybe not even that much.  This was amazingly good:

2 cups washed grapes.   These were Price grape.
1/3 cup sugar.
2 tablespoons instant pectin.

I wash the grapes. Place them in food processor and chop coarsely.

Then combine the sugar and pectin.  Add to food processor and process until well mixed.
Ingredients for Grape Freezer Jam.  8.16.15
 I leave the seeds intact, and don't worry about chopping the skin too finely.    Grape flavor is highly concentrated in the skin.  Grape seeds are a health food and the crunchiness adds fun to the jam, similar to seeds in figs.
Cornbread with Grape Freezer Jam.  8.16.5
Very good on cornbread with butter.  Use unsweetened corn bread.  Or mixed with plain, homemade yogurt.

Ladle jam into jars.   Any small jar will do.  These keep 1 year in freezer or 1 month in fridge.  The uncooked fruit flavor sings with joy.

Hollywood plums also make excellent plum jam.  Same as grapes, but slice the plums flesh off the seeds.   Leave the skin on the slices.  Use 2 cups, same as grape jam.  Add 1 tablespoon lemon juice.  The rest is same as grapes.  It's almost like candy, sweet and sour and full of undiluted flavor, unlike cooked fruit jams with high fructose corn syrup from the grocery store.

In either case, the jam fills 2 8-oz jars.


  1. Man, you are ambitious!! Your dehydrator trays look exactly like mine. They don't "melt" like others I've used. In fact, mine is going right now with Romas. Do you have trouble with tomatoes sticking to the tray? I have to pre-brush them with veg. oil.
    Anyway, it appears you're having a bountiful year.

  2. They do stick a little. I use a spatula to peel off the sticky ones. They are so good!
    Not so ambitious. I don't watch TV or go out, and slicing tomatoes for the tray is pretty easy.

  3. Look at those fruits. I barely have any tomatoes and most are still green. Your sun room is very hot, doesn't your tomato cook in there?
    You must have one of those big freezer. Mine is connected to the fridge so no way have enough room to store freezer jam. Last yr's jam is almost all given away as gifts, I haven't even eaten my own jam but I heard its very good. I used to make dry excess fruits but they don't look good after they dried. I ended up not eating them. So you are making prunes, let me know how it goes.

  4. The sun room is slightly under the temperature of a food dehydrator. As long as they are not cut too thickly, they just dehydrate in a couple of days. I left some in a little too long and they came out completely crispy, but still had a burst of strong sweet/sour tomato flavor on eating. They will be good in food that lets them re-hydrate, like making a marinade.

  5. Some Asian plums are too juicy to dry like this. The Hollywood plums, which are a cerasifera plum hybrid (red leaf, red flesh) are more meaty. I didn't think it would work, but they come out chewy, sweet and tart with a plummy flavor. Sort of like a gummy bear candy. Very good.