Dried (Methley) Plums

Belltown Hill Orchards in Glastonbury, Connecticut grows a plum called Methley. It is my favorite plum. I use it to make some very tasty vanilla plum jam. When I’ve used up my energy making jam, I turn to my dehydrator and 12 hours later we have chewy little morsels that are sweet as well as a bit sour. They are heaven.

The best part is that the fruit does not need to be peeled. I just cut out the pit, and chop the plum into quarters.

Next, they are lined up on the tray and dehydrated for about 12 hours at 135 degrees.

They taste like candy. Really good candy that is all natural and perfectly delicious. Finding homemade snacks that taste as good as, if not better than, chemical-laden grocery store goodies always feels like a tiny victory for my family.

Store them in an airtight container at room temperature. Try your best to share.

They will keep for months if they are properly dried.

Dimply Plum Muffins

This recipe, adapted from Dorie Greenspan‘s Dimpled Plum Cake, is a new favorite chez nous. I’m still in awe of how well the plum works in this recipe. It is best to use plums that are ripe but still firm espiecally if you’d like some of the muffins to be edible the next day. Plums that were mushy to begin with tend to get ugly sitting overnight.

3/4 cup white whole wheat flour
3/4 cup oat flour
1/4 salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom (if you don’t have any, use ground cinnamon)
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs, beaten
1/3 cup canola or safflower oil
Zest of one lemon, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 small ripe plums, halved and pitted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Grease a regular muffin tin with butter or cooking spray.

Cut the plums into two halves along the crease and remove the pits. Set aside. When I accidentally mutilate the plum trying to get the pit out, I just put it in the batter pit side down.

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the flours, salt, and cardamom. Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, cream together the butter and the brown sugar. Add the eggs and mix well. Add the oil, lemon zest, and vanilla and stir to combine. Add the flour mixture and stir well.

Transfer a scant 1/4 cup of batter to each muffin cup in the prepared pan. Place one plum half into each cup pressing down slightly so that it is firmly nestled in the batter.

Bake on the center rack for 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the batter comes out clean. Rotate once during baking. Allow the muffins to cool for 2 minutes in the pan. Use a knife to gently dislodge the muffins and transfer them to a cooling rack to cool completely. Serve once cool, paying special attention to the plums as they stay hotter longer.

Yield: 12 muffins
Prep-time: 20 minutes
Bake-time: 15 minutes

[print_link]

Stone Fruit Salsa

Even though I’ve been eating peaches, plums and nectarines for what seems like weeks on end, I couldn’t stop eating this salsa. If only I could sneak a little jalapeno into the mix, it would be stellar.

My youngest tentatively snacked on this dip even though she saw me nonchalantly cutting up the yellow tomatoes. She is (currently) not a tomato fan. It was either a moment of genius on my part or dumb luck that she even tried it; most likely the latter.

1 medium ripe plum, pitted and chopped
1 medium ripe peach, pitted and chopped
1 medium ripe nectarine, pitted and chopped
1 medium yellow tomato, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons chopped purple onion (optional)
1 tablespoons fresh lime juice (from 1/2 lime)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

In a small bowl, mix together the plum, peach, nectarine, and tomato. Add the cilantro, onion, lime juice and salt and stir until they are well distributed. Serve with tortilla chips.

Yield: 2 cups
Prep-time: 10 minutes

[print_link]