Last year with 120 pounds of plums from our tree to contend with, I had to get creative in finding ways in which I could utilize every last one. In researching various ways in which the plums could be used, I came across several people who had used a steam juicer to extract juice from the plums. The process looked easy and very quick.
Knowing that plums would not be the only fruit I used such a gadget on, I decided to use a gift card from Amazon that I received for my birthday to splurge on this luxury.
Three days later, I had my steamer and steamed my first batch of pure plum juice. Although quite tart, with just a little honey it turned into the perfect breakfast juice to serve the family.
This year, although I have fewer plums, I also have fewer things that I need to make, as the pantry is still quite stocked with plum goods. Plum juice however is something I doubt I’ll ever have too much of.
The process with a steamer is very simple. First slice plums in half, no need to remove the pits.
Place plums in basket portion of steamer.
Fill bottom of pot with water nearly to the top, place the juice collecting portion on top of the water, the basket with the plums on top of that and top with the lid. Turn the stove on high.
Within 15 minutes juice will begin to trickle down the tube, into a bowl.
After about 45 minutes you’ll have a bowl full of filtered plum juice.
I then mix in either 1/2 Cup of sugar per 4 cups or 3/4 Cup honey per 8 cups, heat till combined and pour into hot jars. Process this in water bath for 15 minutes and you’ve got plum juice to stock the pantry.
Filling my steamer basket to the top with plums yielded me four quarts of juice. This is a great way to use some of the over-ripe and bruised fruit that you might not want to use in pie filling or jam. This year I’ve used under-ripe, ripe, and over-ripe plums and the combination has been successful.
Now, if you want, you can use the pulp that is left in the basket to make plum jam or butter. It took everything inside of me not to use the pulp, but I could not justify making more jam or butter when there is plenty in the pantry and freezing it wasn’t an option, as every inch of freezer space is taken.
If you plan on doing this though I suggest you pit the plums. Last year the first batch of juice I steamed I didn’t pit the plums and decided I wanted to use the pulp. It took me over an hour to pull out all the pits by hand. It would be easier to do prior to steaming. If you don’t plan on using the pulp leaving the pits in makes for a quicker process.
Making sure that none of the bounty from our little tree goes to waste is important to me. We’ve shared them with our neighbors, given some to our parents, eaten our fill, and I’m still canning. After such a terrible winter and all the fruit crops that did not survive for 2014, I truly appreciate what we have been given, and for this I am — Simply Grateful.