Harvest Project: Homemade Prunes!

September 14th, 2009 - filed under: The Food » Food and Health


Last year I embarked on my very first solo canning projects, and the first recipe I made was a simple plum syrup. I have this huge and bountiful plum tree, you see, so it only made sense. But there was something ‘not quite right’ about the flavor. I couldn’t figure it out until I did a bit of research. Apparently, the ‘problem’ was that I was growing Italian pruning plums. Score!

I love prunes. Love love love them! So this was an awesome revelation. I couldn’t wait to try my hand at pruning!


Pruning is actually reeeeally easy. It goes something like this:

Seriously. It’s that easy.

Start with slightly under-ripe fruit. Not totally under-ripe – not hard and green – but not soft and sugared either. They’re going to sweeten up a lot as they dry, so you need them to start out on the tart side.

Wash the fruit and cut each plum in half. Remove the pits and throw them away (you cannot compost these, so sad).

Spread the fruit out on dehydrator trays and load up the machine. Dehydrate between 105-115º for roughly 24 hours, or until prunes are shriveled and darkened.


Alternately, prunes can be made in an oven by placing the fruit on baking trays and roasting at the lowest possible setting. Leave the oven door open a crack and set up a portable fan to circulate the air. This is not so energy efficient, but it will get the job done.

And that’s all there is to it! Store your prunes in an airtight container in the fridge. And enjoy!



  • Jackie

    Why can’t you compost the pits?

  • http://hollowstar.com J

    I grew up in a yard with these kind of plums. They taste a bit funny, but still good, although not like plums so much. Very cool project – I love prunes.

  • http://flightsofthevalkyrie.blogspot.com/ Valerie

    I am a fruit drying fiend!!! I got a dehydrator for my birthday a few years back with the basic 4 trays. Last year I bought 8 more to make the maximum tower of 12 trays a reality. When I was a kid my aunt would dehydrate fruit and give us all gallon ziploc bags full of fruit in our xmas stockings. She stopped doing it before I turned 10, but now I have continued the tradition and that’s what my extended family gets from me every year. I add a new fruit each year that the family votes on me experimenting with. This year I’m adding pears and the experiments have been going well. I usually do apricots, plums, cranberries, golden delicious apples, and bananas. I got a couple of kiwis from a co-worker and I might give them a try this week.

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com Sayward

    @ Jackie – Small seeds like cucumber and tomato will be broken down by the bacteria in a compost pile, but large seeds like cherry, plum, or peach pits, will not. They’ll remain in one piece which sort of defeats the purpose of composting, plus you may accidentally end up growing a plum tree!

    @ J – Yes exactly, just a bit ‘funny’. I couldn’t figure it out until I realized they’re not plums at all, but prunes!

    @ Valerie – I’m so jealous! I want a dehydrator so bad, my friend has an Excaliber that I’m always commandeering for these projects, haha. I’m saving up, but those suckers are expensive!!!

  • Joervp

    Hi, glad I found this! I have plum and apricot trees and my daughters just started making jam because we couldn’t eat the fruit fast enough. This year I was thinking of just drying. But where do you find ‘ dehydrator trays’ , other than the round plastic ones for electric dryers? Are they just stainless racks? Thanks for any help.
    Cheers, Joe.

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    The dehydrator trays fit into a specific kind of dehydrator – I use an Excalibur which I highly recommend, though it is spendy. If you’re just dong dried fruit, one of the round ones will work great!