We have a large fruit drier, but I prefer oven dried fruit. There are contradictory instructions on drying fruit in the oven though. I don’t believe it is necessary to add sugar or seasoning, most fruits are sufficiently flavourful and sweet without additional flavouring. The only thing I would add to peaches and apricots is a sprinkle of Fruitfresh to keep them from oxidising. Plums do not require it because they are already brown, besides the drying process naturally darkens oven dried fruit. Most instructions begin with lower temperatures, “so the fruit will not burst and loose all its flavour in the catching tray”. After that the temperature is usually increased to quickly finish up the drying process. I agree with the first part, but not with the second. There is a fine line between dried and burned fruit, if anything the second stage of drying requires even lower temperatures than what we start out with. Sure it takes longer, but the end result is worth the trouble.

• Wash and pat dry plums.
• Cut in half and remove the stones.
• Lay the plums on cookie racks and place the cookie racks over rimmed baking pans.
• Place the baking pans in the oven and turn the temperature to 120F.
• Leave the fruit dry for 6-8 hours, occasionally opening oven door to let the steam escape.

I had a lot of plums; about one shelf was full of cookie racks and with catch trays underneath them. With fewer plums, the drying time would be considerably less. Of course with two oven shelves full of plums, this first stage would require more than 8 hours and even some shifting of upper and lower trays. With a single oven rack packed up, after 8 hours there was quite a bit of plum syrup in the catch trays and the plums were still soft. This completed the first stage.

• For the next stage reduce the oven temperature to the lowest possible setting and leave the fruit for an additional 6-8 hours to finish up the drying process. [I left it to dry overnight]
• Eight hours later the second stage was over and the plums were ready to come out of the oven.
• I let the plums cool and packed them into parchment lined cookie tins. They are delicious!

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It began with posting a few recipes on line for my family. "zsuzsa is in the kitchen" has more than 1000 Hungarian and International recipes. What started out as a private project turned into a well visited blog. The number of visitors long passed the two million mark. I organized my recipes into an on-line cookbook. On top of the page click on the cookbook to access the recipes. I am not profiting from my blog, so my visitors will not be harassed with advertising or flashy gadgets. Feel free to cut and paste my recipes for your own use. Publication is permitted as long as it is in your own words and with your own photographs. However, I would ask you for an acknowledgement and link-back to my blog. Happy cooking!