Preserving and preparing plums

Michigan grown plums will soon be ready.

Michigan Fresh grown plums will soon be available. Whether you choose to purchase or grow these fruits, they are a great source of vitamins, minerals and fiber to enjoy this summer. Michigan State University Extension recommends that you wash your hands before preparing any fresh produce. The fresh produce needs to be well rinsed with lukewarm water before any further preparation takes place.

Recommended storage and use tips for your fresh plums include the following tips:

  • Purchase fruits that are not bruised or damaged.
  • Wash hands before and after handling fresh produce.
  • Keep away from raw meat and meat juices to prevent cross-contamination.

Preserving Plums


When canning plums, select deep-colored, mature fruit of ideal quality for eating fresh or cooking. Plums may be packed in water or syrup. Stem and wash plums. To can whole, prick skins on two sides of plums with a fork to prevent splitting. Varieties may be halved and pitted. If you use syrup, prepare very light, light or medium syrup.

  • Hot pack – Add plums to water or hot syrup and boil 2 minutes. Cover saucepan and let stand 20 to 30 minutes. Fill jars with hot plums and cooking liquid or syrup, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.
  • Raw pack – Fill jars with raw plums, packing firmly. Add hot water or syrup, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.

Remove air bubbles and wipe jar rims. Adjust lids and process:

  • In a boiling water bath canner, process pints in hot or raw pack for 20 minutes or quarts for 25 minutes
  • In a dial gauge pressure canner, it is recommended to hot pack pints or quarts for 10 minutes at 6 pounds of pressure in hot or raw pack.
  • In a weighted gauge pressure canned, process pint or quarts in a hot or raw pack for 10 minutes at 5 pounds of pressure

Let jars stand undisturbed on the counter for 24 hours, remove rings, check to make sure lids are sealed, wash jars, label, date and store your plums.

Looking for a new recipe to use your Michigan Fresh Plums? A great one to try is Plum Jelly.

Plum Jelly

  • 4 cups plum juice (about 4½ pounds plums and ½ cup water)
  • 7½ cups sugar
  • 1 pouch liquid pectin

Yield: About 7 or 8 half-pint jars

Procedure: Sterilize canning jars and prepare two-piece canning lids according to manufacturer's directions.

To prepare juice: Sort and wash fully ripe plums and cut in pieces. Do not peel or pit. Crush fruit, add water, cover, and bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Extract juice.

To make jelly: Measure juice into a kettle. Stir in sugar. Place on high heat and, stirring constantly, bring quickly to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down. Add pectin and heat again to a full rolling boil. Boil hard for 1 minute. Remove from heat; skim off foam quickly.

Pour hot jelly immediately into hot, sterile jars, leaving ¼ inch headspace. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened clean paper towel. Process in a boiling water canner, half pints or pint for 5 minutes.

Be sure to check out all of the Michigan Fresh fact sheets with recipes, gardening tips and preservation techniques for over eighty Michigan grown foods available for free at the MSU Extension Michigan Fresh page. The goal of Michigan Fresh is to help you and your family eat, preserve, grow and learn about all that’s Michigan Fresh.

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