And make our own edible version of Judy Chicago’s Dinner Party!
There has been a long and harried internal debate raging in my brain for days over that title. I have avoided making this post, worried that I will offend people by using the anatomically correct word for part of the female anatomy on a website about gardening. NO! The Horror! Because flowers and gardens and pollination and the like has nothing to do with sex at all.
I asked myself questions like, “Do I pull an Oprah and use the hideous colloquialism “vajay-jays” for those who think the word vagina is inappropriate?”
Both penis and vagina within the span of a month? What next, Gayla? What horrible word will you assault us with next?
So then I thought,” Really, if I’m going to use appropriate anatomical terms I should have said “labias” or “vulva”, right?” I eventually decided against it because I figure some will find those words more offensive than vaginas and 70′s era feminist art.
Now that I’ve got that out of the way, let’s talk about making what are really just oven dried plums.
As soon as tomatoes come into season I begin making batches of oven dried tomatoes. I’d love to make real sun-dried tomatoes and skip the energy consumption, however the climate here is far too humid (and this season is especially too wet) to properly dry tomatoes the natural way. If you have never made oven-dried tomatoes you must do it. They are so much better than store bought sun-dried tomatoes which are often laden with sulphite preservatives. My recipe for making them is in my next book so I can’t repeat it here.
My first tomato batch of the season fell a bit short of filling up the oven so I looked around to see if there was anything else on hand that could benefit from an afternoon in the oven. Plums! Yes, dried plums are really just prunes, and while I can’t remember the last time I ate a prune (if ever), I am absolutely certain these are a whole lot better.
I used Italian purple plums but I’m sure just about any will work.
To make them simply turn your oven to the lowest heat and line a baking sheet with a silpat or parchment paper (this step is important since they drip sugars and can stick).
Cut the plums in half and remove the pit.
Sprinkle or coat the plums with sugar if you like. This is not necessary if you want to keep it low-sugar since the heating process concentrates the plums’ own natural sugars.
Lay each half, cut side up on the baking sheet.
Set in the oven for several hours. Drying time depends on the wetness/ripeness of the plums you use so check back after the first 2 hours to determine the drying rate and go from there.
Once cool, store the dried plums in freezer bags or reusable freezer safe containers.
Save a few for eating right away but try not to eat too many at once. I think you know why.