Canning Plums – Not For The Faint Of Heart

This morning I began the arduous task of canning the plum harvest we recently made from our abundant orchard.


Okay, orchard might be a stretch, but abundant doesn’t begin to do our harvest justice.


Although I am ever so grateful for the bounty our tree has blessed us with for the second year in a row, plums are by far the worst fruit to can — hands down.  They are tedious and time-consuming, far more than peeling peaches, pitting cherries, or seeding strawberries.  So far today I have washed, stemmed, pitted and sliced 10 pounds of the 80 to 90 pounds I have in buckets and it took me nearly an hour and a half.  Being that they are not free-stone, pitting is almost impossible.  Thankfully I learned a neat trick several years ago and use a melonballer to assist, otherwise I’d probably still be working on them.


Last year I made plum pie filling and froze it.  It was quick and easy, other than the pitting, but freezer space continues to be an issue, even more so now that I have peppers, tomatoes and zucchini taking up space.  Hubby really needs to give some serious consideration to my request for a second chest freezer.  I did my research and it would only cost about $55 a year to run.  Until then, I’m going to can all my pie filling and store it in the pantry.

Plum Pie Filling


  • 6 Quarts Washed, Pitted and Slice Plums
  • 6 Cups Sugar
  • 1 Cup + 3 Tbsp. Clear Jel Dissolved in 1 Cup Water
  • 4 Cups Water
  • 1 Cup Lemon Juice

Pit and slice plums.


Place slices in water containing Fruit Fresh to prevent browning.

DSCF3715Bring large stock pot of water to boil.  Place 6 cups of fresh fruit in boiling water and return to boil.  Boil 1 minute.  Drain and keep fruit in covered bowl.  Continue until plums are all blanched.


Combine water, sugar, and Clear Jel slurry in large stock pot.  Bring mixture to boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and begins to bubble.  Add lemon juice and boil 1 minute.  Fold in plums.


Fill hot jars, leaving 1-inch head space.  Adjust and process in water bath for 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes, let rest 5 minutes more in water before removing.

This recipe made 7 quarts plus 1 pint of plum pie filling.  One more batch and I should be set for the year.

Ten pounds down and 7+ quarts in the pantry for the winter, for this I am — Simply Grateful.



7 responses

    • We love plum jelly, but last year with about 120 pounds of usable fruit from our tree, I canned so much we haven’t even gone through all of it yet. This year I’m trying some new things so we don’t end up throwing it out. We love plums but there’s only so many recipes I’ve come across. Next I think I’m going to try some barbecue sauce and asian plum sauce.

  1. 80-90 lbs. of plums?! My goodness, you are going to be an even busier bee now! I saw in the comment above you said you have more than you can use. Can you can it + sell it? Or donate it to a food pantry? Or sell it at a church fair? My next door neighbor gets overloaded with apples every fall + she usually ends up doing one of those options to get a little extra money + use it up.

    • In Michigan it is illegal to sell home canned product unless you have a licensed kitchen which would cost more than $10,000 to convert a home kitchen and you cannot have pets. I’m not sure abouts fairs or donations, but the way things are around here I doubt it. I do give lots to my neighbors, friends and family so I know they will all get used. Storing it is going to be the issue until I give it away.

  2. Pingback: Mixes-In-Jars #2 – Fruit Crumble | Simply Grateful Housewife

  3. My mother always canned plums whole with the pit left in. Then when she opened the jar, carefully pitted the plum. Usually the plums looked good, still quite whole and not mashed after she did that. When we were older and not small children, she would give us sauce dishes of these whole plums for dessert leaving the pits in (she was saving a little work for herself at that point! ). I don’t remember plum pies, but she did make plum cobblers. Our normal use for them was the plain fruit for dessert, though.

    I’d give a lot to have her canned plums again, a lot more to be in the kitchen watching her can them again . . .

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