Dried plum called prunes. Properly cooked prunes have excellent taste and can retain a huge amount of nutrients.
The right choice of plums
Not every plum variety is suitable for preparing our favorite dried fruit. Often to make prunes use plums-Hungarian.
Best of all is the Hungarian Italian variety. Fruits of this variety are large, oval-shaped, blue in color with a bluish tinge. This drain is perfect for drying, because it has a dense skin and elastic flesh. Besides This variety has a low acid content, and there is enough sugar in it.
In addition to the Italian Hungarian for the manufacture of prunes using Hungarian Ajan and Hungarian purple. Varieties such as Ugorka, Burton and Raisin-Eric are also great for drying.
Plums for drying are collected from the ground, but in no case do not tear from the branches of the tree. If the fruit falls, then they have reached maturity. Before collecting the fruit, the tree should be lightly shuffled so that the fruit will fall with injuries, as well as rotten and with wormholes. The next day, you can pick up ripened plums.Ready prunes in a plate
Preparation of plum for drying
Having decided on the choice of variety for the preparation of dried plums, you can proceed to the preparatory processing of fresh fruit.
Cooking prunes is not an easy process, as it may initially seem. If you just dry the plums, then prunes from them will not work. Fruits will lose their juice, become too hard and the surface of the fruit instead of black will become brown in color. To obtain a tasty and healthy dried fruit, plums should be carefully prepared for drying.
- Before starting the drying process, fruits are stored in a covered area in baskets. The amount of fruit in one basket does not exceed 16 kg. Fruits are stored for three days. It is necessary to ensure softness, which will later become a property of prunes. If this period is extended, then fermented processes will begin to occur in the collected fruit. Naturally before drying the drain, they are well washed. This is done several times in a row. When the water after washing the fruit becomes clear, then this procedure can be completed.
- Then the plums are sorted, that is, large plums are separated from small ones.. After that, the plums are checked for the presence of spoiled fruit that cannot be used to make prunes. At the end of the research procedure, the fruit is thoroughly washed again. But this preparation plums for drying is not over.
- Next is the blanching procedure. That is, the fruit is subjected to heat treatment: they are placed in hot water. This process helps to soften the tissues of the fruit, as well as displace air from the plum and increase cell size. In addition, when the fetus is placed in water, oxidative enzymes break down. During the blanching of important elements, only a small amount of ascorbic acid is lost. The number of remaining significant substances almost does not change. But, treatment with water alone is not enough.
- Alkaline treatment is used to get rid of the wax from the surface of the fruit. For such a procedure is suitable boiling 1% caustic soda solution. Plums lie in it for 15 - 20 seconds. But here it is necessary to know that at home the plums may not completely wash off after processing. In this regard, potash should be used instead of caustic soda. After treatment with alkali, the fruit is cooled.
How to make dried fruits in the oven?
To cook the prunes in the oven, the plums are blanched, then they are washed with cold water and left to dry on a towel. If the fruit is cut into two parts, then the blanching procedure is not carried out. The drying of fruits in the oven consists of three stages at different temperatures.
- At the first stage, the oven heats up to 50 ° С, the baking tray with fruit is put into it for 5 hours. After that, the same period of time plums cool.
- At the next stage, the plums are turned over and dried also for 5 hours in an oven heated to 70 ° C.
- At the last stage of drying, the temperature increases to 75 ° C. Here fruits are already being brought to full readiness.
Cooking prunes in an electric drier
To obtain prunes in an electric dryer, after blanching, the plums are put on the tray in one layer. If the fruits are divided in half, they are laid cut up. The drying process in this way also takes place in 3 stages under certain temperature conditions:
- the first 3-4 hours is the drying of fruit at a temperature of 45-55 ° C;
- then the plums are dried at 60 degrees for 6 hours;
- the final stage - the fruits are set to dry for 6 hours at a temperature of 75-80 ° C.
After completing each stage, the pallets are removed from the dryer for several hours to cool the future prunes.Drying plum in an electric dryer
Drying plums in the sun
Naturally, the fruit is dried on sheets of wood. The halves of the fruit, separated from the seeds, are laid out on a sheet not particularly close to each other, cut up so that they do not lose their juice during drying. Depending on the size, the plums should lie in the sun for 4 to 5 days.
It should be observed that insects do not sit on the fruit. Otherwise, in the dried fruit may be harmful microorganisms.
At night, the plums are brought into the house, and in the morning they are brought out to fresh air after the dew falls out so that they do not form mold. When drying, the plums are turned over from time to time to dry evenly on each side. After drying under the rays of sunlight, the fruit is dried in a shaded place for another 3-4 days.
The readiness of prunes is checked for certain characteristics:
- when pressing on the fruit, they do not break and do not leak juice;
- the fruits are firm and firm, but they do not fall apart if they are pressed;
- prunes do not stick to fingers.
Ways to store prunes at home
Absolutely easy to keep prunes at home. To do this, just follow some simple guidelines. To store this dried fruit, use linen bags and paper bags, wooden boxes with good ventilation., tightly closed container or glass, metal and plastic vessels with an airtight lid.
Storage at room temperature in an airtight container
Prunes are able to be stored in glass and ceramic jars with a tight-fitting lid for up to six months.
- First of all the packaging is prepared. It is thoroughly washed, doused with boiling water and dried.
- Then dried fruits are placed into it, tightly closed with a lid and put in a cool place.
- If prunes turned out to be wet, then it should be dried.
- Periodically it is necessary to monitor the state of dried plums.
Storage of dried plums in linen bags and paper bags
Some store dried fruit in linen bags. But only if there are no harmful insects in the house, such as ants or cockroaches.
Sacks from dense fabric are soaked in strong saline solution. Then they are well dried, put in them prunes and tied.
In the same way fill and close paper bags. Thanks to cloth and paper, dried plums can breathe, as well as they become covered with mold and retain all their beneficial qualities.
The only disadvantage of this method of storage is the impossibility of placing prunes near very smelling products: coffee, spices, tobacco.Ready prunes in a vase
Storing prunes in the fridge
If the humidity prevails in the room, the dried fruits are stored in a refrigerator. For this:
- Carefully pick prunes, separate the fruit with damage.
- Packed in small portions in a glass container with a tight-fitting lid, containers or bags with a zip-fastener.
- Placed on the shelf, the door of the refrigerator or in the fruit compartment
- Once a week you need to check the moisture in the container. If it appears, the fruit is dried.
Proper storage of dried plums will preserve all its important properties.
Naturally, you can protect yourself from unnecessary trouble and buy prunes on the market or in the store. But when there is an opportunity to cook prunes at home, you should not expose yourself and your relatives to possible negative consequences.