• 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.