September is the month when the various kinds of prune plums ripen in succession. I have so many, I scarcely know what to do with all of them. When the Shropshire Damson starts producing next year, I will be absolutely flooded with plums at the end of summer.
We had a brief run of rain, followed by hot weather, and now more rain, and the late plums are all splitting faster than I can pick them.
When jams, sauces, plum brandy are all made and still there are buckets of very ripe plums left, the solution is to dehydrate them. Afterall, prune plums – with their intense sweetness and freestone habit – are perfect for drying.
The kids built a blanket fort in the living room this afternoon, and I got around to washing and halving bowls and bowls of plums to fill the dehydrator trays. (It’s cloudy and rainy, today, so I couldn’t use the solar dehydrator, but that’s okay, because it’s chilly in the house tonight, and the heat from the electric dehydrator is filling the kitchen with the delicious honey aroma of the drying fruit.)
We go through a lot of dried fruit outside the summer months. Aside from eating them whole, prunes go into much of my winter cooking. One of my favorite dishes is a tagine with beef or lamb and prunes, pumpkin and chickpeas with a side of couscous. If you don’t think you like prunes, try them in a tagine and you’ll discover how great they can be.
If you have a favorite plum recipe, I’d love to hear it, because I have more plums waiting to be picked!