• When possible, preserve fresh, locally-grown plums for the best quality and nutritional value.
  • Know when fresh plums are available in your state with this seasonal food guide.

  • If this is your first time drying or it has been awhile, it is recommended that you read General Drying Information before beginning. 



1. Selection & Ingredients

  • Select fresh, mature, and firm plums. Do not use plums that show signs of decay or mold.
  • Pre-treatment Solution--any of the following can be used to prevent fruits from darkening:
    • Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C)- Mix 1 teaspoon powdered or 3,000 mg tablets (six 500 mg tablets), crushed, in 2 cups cold water 
    • Citric acid-1 teaspoon (5 grams) per 1 quart of cold water
    • Bottled lemon juice-1 cup per 1 cup cold water
    • Ascorbic Acid Mixture--follow manufacturer's instructions

2. Equipment

  • Use clean, food-grade dehydration equipment or oven with drying trays or racks that allow for good air circulation.
    • Many types of food dehydrators can be used and are explained in detail in Food Dehydrators.
  • Conditioning containers
    • Large, clean plastic or glass container with lid
  • Storage containers
    • Clean, dry home canning jars, plastic freezer containers with tight-fitting lids or plastic freezer bags
    • Vacuum packaging is also a good storage option
  • Large bowl (for soaking fruit in pre-treatment solution)
  • Large cooking pot for boiling water (if drying whole plums)
  • Colander, strainer or slotted spoon (for draining fruit)
  • Cutting board
  • Knife
  • Timer or clock

3. Prepare Ingredients

  • Thoroughly wash plums.
  • Leave whole if small; cut large fruit into halves (pit removed) or slices.
  • If left whole, crack skins by dipping in boiling water 1 to 2 minutes.
    • Cool by submerging into bowl of ice water.
    • Drain well.
  • If cut in half, soak plums in ascorbic acid or other anti-darkening /antimicrobial solution for 3-5 minutes.
    • Remove plums from solution.
    • Drain well.

4. Dry

  • Arrange pretreated plums in single layers on drying trays with the pit side up.
    • Invert by popping the cavity upward to speed drying time.
  • Dry at 140 degrees F (60°C) in an oven or dehydrator.
  • If necessary, turn large pieces over every 3 to 4 hours during the drying period.
    • Fruits can scorch easily toward the end of drying, so monitor more closely as drying nears completion.
    • Dried fruits should be leathery and pliable.
  • Total Drying Time: 6-10 hours (for slices) 24-36 hours (for halves) in a dehydrator (may take up to twice as long in a conventional oven) 

5. Condition

  • Condition plums by placing cooled, dried fruit loosely in large plastic or glass containers, about two-thirds full.
  • Lightly cover and store in a warm, dry, well-ventilated place for 4 to 10 days.
    • Stir or shake containers daily to separate pieces.
    • If beads of moisture form inside the container return plums to drying trays for further drying, then repeat the conditioning step.

6. Store

  • Store small amounts of conditioned dried plums in moisture-vapor-proof containers or bags.
  • Label packages with name of product, date and method of pretreatment and drying.
  • Store in a cool, dry, dark place or in the refrigerator or freezer.
    • Properly stored, dried fruits keep well for six to 12 months.
    • Discard foods that have off odors or show signs of mold.

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1. Selection of Ingredients


  • Select ripe or slightly over-ripe plums. Do not use fruit that shows signs of decay or mold.
  • Use only fruit picked directly from the tree. Fruit collected from the ground may be contaminated.
  • 1 pound of fresh plums will yield 2 cups puree to make one 13" X 15" leather

Pre-treatment Solution

Either of the following can be used to protect the color and help destroy bacteria during drying:

  • Ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) 


  • Lemon juice

2. Equipment

  • Clean, food-grade dehydration equipment or oven with drying trays or racks that allow for good air circulation
  • Blender or food processor
  • Sheet pan or tray with edges
  • Food thermometer and oven thermometer
  • Plastic wrap
  • Storage containers
    • Airtight bags, plastic, or glass containers for refrigerator storage
  • Cutting board
  • Peeler and/or corer
  • Knife
  • Timer or clock

3. Prepare Ingredients

  • Thoroughly wash plums.
  • De-stem and cut in half; remove pits. Remove bruised areas.
  • Cut plums into chunks.
  • Place fruit in a blender or food processor. Process until smooth. 

    • Add 2 teaspoons lemon juice or 1/8 teaspoon (375 mg) ascorbic acid for each 2 cups of pureed fruit.  

  • Optional: To sweeten, add up to 1/2 cup sugar, corn syrup or honey to each 2 cups of pureed fruit. 

4. Dry

  • Most dehydrators come with specially-designed plastic sheets for drying leathers; line with plastic wrap or use non-stick cooking spray if specified in manufacturer's instructions. Wax paper or aluminum foil should not be used.  
    • If drying in the oven, line a rimmed baking sheet with sturdy plastic wrap (the kind that is microwave safe).
  • Spread pureed plum mixture evenly over tray surface to a depth of 1/8 to 1/4-inch. Dry by dehydrator or oven.
    • Dehydrator drying: Place tray(s) into dehydrator. Set temperature control at 140° to 145°F or follow manufacturer’s directions. Drying time will be 6 to 8 hours. Test frequently for dryness (see test for dryness).
    • Oven drying: Set oven to lowest setting (140° to 145°F). If oven does not have low enough setting, beware of case hardening from too high oven temperatures. Place tray on oven rack. Check oven temperature periodically with thermometer. Apple leather should dry in up to 18 hours in an oven. (Note that the oven drying method is not as energy and cost-efficient as dehydrator drying.)

5. Test for Dryness

Readiness is indicated by both:

  • Touching leather in several places with no evidence of indentations
  • Lifting edge of the leather and peeling it back about an inch. If it peels readily, it is properly dried.
    • If leather cracks or chips, it has dried for too long, but is still edible.

6. Store

  • While slightly warm, carefully peel the leather from the drying sheet, working from the outer edges.
    • Roll in one piece or roll and cut into bite-size strips.
  • Allow rolls to cool completely before wrapping in plastic. 
    • Place in clean, dry and airtight, food-grade storage containers. 
  • Store leather in a cool, dry, dark place. It will retain good quality for up to one year in the freezer, several months in the refrigerator, or one to two months at room temperature (70°F).

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