Can you smell it? . . . FALL is in the air. I Love it!!!
Well because fall is almost here and summer is almost gone (it's so bitter sweet), we thought we'd hit our summer farmers market one last time. The kids loved it. Fresh popped kettle corn, delicious blackberry creamed honey, powder-sugared mini doughnuts, garden pulled carrots, squash and tomatoes, and 10 cent plums. I couldn't resist the plums. We gobbled down the 3 that I bought. My 2 year old devoured them, any my 7 month old held onto my hand holding the plum to her mouth like it was the best tasting thing in the world. Well it was to her thats for sure.
That deep purple plum color on the outside and the rich yellow/orange color in the middle. We made it down one more market section and then turned to go right back to the plum lady. It's a good thing we did. We bought a whole $1 worth of plums. . . but then we chatted with the Plum lady. She was about as sweet as the plums. She told me she had just made plum jelly, and plum crisp. Plums with ice cream and plum pie. My mouth was watering (as it is now)! Then she said, “well, I have a bag of split and not so great looking plums. I can't sell them because they have a few eye-sore spots on them, but they are great plums. You can take them and make plum jelly!” Oh my, I wanted them so badly especially talking about the plum jelly! Well, since she offered how could I refuse? I graciously accepted her offer and thanked her a million times. She could surely see the joy on mine and my 2 year olds face… as he freely enjoyed another plum! I was like a kid in a candy shop getting a free bag of goods!
Well, that week was packed! I was running and doing a million necessary things . . . as the plums sat and sat. . . anxiously awaiting my appearance. Every time I opened the fridge and saw them I thought, “I need to use those sweet free plums, before they go bad.”
The next day, both kiddos amazingly took naps at the same time! The plum fairy's had arrived to help me and sent some free time my way. I quickly ran to the kitchen and started looking up my Plum Jelly recipe. Well, I was given time. . . but not that much time! So, Plum Jelly was going to have to wait till next year!
I thought well, I have all these plums and I surely don't want them to go bad. Let's make Plum leather! I've made Apple leather before, so why not plum leather.
I first washed and cut away all the split or bad (really soft) parts of the plum. Then I split them in half and lined them on a tinfoil covered cookie sheet.
Aren't those colors beautiful. So rich and full of life. I want to eat another one right now!
I then put them in the oven to bake for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees. I just baked them enough to get really soft and juicy.
I then threw them all in my blender and mixed away. I didn't want it too liquified, but just a good pulsated blended plum mixture.
Well, after debating for so long about to make plum jelly or not, time had actually flown by, and by this time in the process my 2 year old had woken up! He came downstairs and wanted some pureed plum in a cup. I wasn't sure exactly how he'd like it, but he LOVED IT! It was delicious. We usually make green smoothies with spinach and kale and this plum mixture would have been a delightful addition to the green smoothie.
So, my new debate was to add sugar or to keep it sugar free. I made a quick decision and decided to try both. I poured half of my mixture onto another cookie sheet lined with parchment paper (hind-sight 20/20 I would use Wax paper! The parchment paper was great until it accidentally got wet and then STUCK to my plum leather. I tried and tried to get it off but it was a tedious job and about half of the plum leather made it. It was a sad day but lesson learned USE WAX PAPER!). Then I mixed the rest of the plum puree with about 1/2 cup of sugar.
This is the goodness poured onto my cookie sheets. I tried to not make it too thin or too thick. But just made sure all the parts of the cookie sheet were covered equally.
Here's the longest part, letting your leather dry out! My christmas list includes a food dehydrator but as of right now I do not own one. Because of this I pre-heated my oven to 170 then put the leather inside the oven and then turned the oven off. I waited about an hour and then I repeated the process. I pre-heated the oven to 170 degrees, once it got to 170, I turned it off and let my leather just sit in the oven for a few hours. . . or a day. . . or so! Since we left to the drive-in movies that night I turned the oven off, left my plum mixture in the oven and then repeated the steps the next morning.
If you have an oven that will go down to 140 degrees that'd be perfect. You can keep the oven at 140 degrees and let the leather dry out for a few hours. Or even letting your plum leather sit in the sun on a table will work… but it might take a FEW DAYS!
The plum leather is done when the top is SMOOTH and NON-STICKY.
All you have to do is cut it into strips using a pizza cutter. Place it on wax paper (or don't repeat my mistake and just dry it on wax paper in the first place), and roll it up. Ours didn't make it that long in our house, but if yours does, you can freeze it and store some for later.
One cookie sheet of split plums made 2 1/2 cookie sheets of plum leather.
- Find a sweet plum lady to give you plums, or go pick your own plums from a plum tree. Or resort to buying them in the store! All options are a GO!
- Wash, remove pit/sore spots on plum, split and place on lined cookie sheet.
- Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.
- Place cooked plums in blender and blend
- Add about 1/2 – 2/3 cups sugar if desired, or leave it sugarless (both options were very tasty, the non-sugar one was just a tad more tart… but I loved it).
- Make sure the sugar is completely dissolved and not grainy
- Pour the plum puree onto a WAX paper lined cookie sheet
- Pre-heat oven to 140 degrees and let the plum leather dry out. If your oven does not go to 140 degrees, as mine does not, pre-heat your oven to 170 degrees place your leather inside the oven and then turn the oven off. Leave the oven off for about an hour and then turn it back on to 170 degrees. Repeat these steps until the leather is dried out.
- Leather is dry once it is hard, smooth and not sticky.
- Roll up, eat and enjoy!
I wish I had more right now… but sadly ours is all gone! But apple season is in and apple picking has begun! More leather is coming our way!