Let’s Make Tiny Vaginas, Each One Beautiful & Unique

Photo by Gayla Trail  All Rights Reserved

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.

Photo by Gayla Trail  All Rights Reserved

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.

Photo by Gayla Trail  All Rights Reserved
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.

Gayla Trail
Gayla is a writer, photographer, and former graphic designer with a background in the Fine Arts, cultural criticism, and ecology. She is the author, photographer, and designer of best-selling books on gardening, cooking, and preserving.

Subscribe to get weekly updates from Gayla

46 thoughts on “Let’s Make Tiny Vaginas, Each One Beautiful & Unique

  1. Vaginas and plums in one article – v daring. Having said that I’m not sure plums have the same alternate meaning in Canada…

    Talking of translation issues – what is a silpat? Don’t think they exist in the UK.

  2. Dawn: I was so fixated on finding a word that I completely forgot about that. yes, I know what you are saying. Oh the controversy!

    A silpat is a non-stick baking mat. You can see one in action underneath the plums in the above photos.

  3. I have not yet read this post. This is because when I read the title, I spit tea all over myself.

    I shall now go clean up. And then maybe I’ll read the rest of this.

    After I finish the rest of my tea.


  4. Ciao Gayla-

    Italian prune plums are perfect for this because of their very low water content. I’ve tried using other varieties but they end up very brittle and hard because they’re not as fleshy. They also take longer to dry completely. I like using the Italian plums for baking for the same reason. They don’t waterlog a pastry.

  5. Oh you make me laugh Gayla! Seriously! Thank you!

    And on a related note, I need to find out how to properly make sundried tomatoes in the oven. It’s got to be in an old post. I will find it, yes I will.

  6. Linda: I haven’t posted about making oven-dried tomatoes on the site — it is in my next book (out in Feb 2010).

    Bay: Mine have been on the counter inside an airtight glass container for 2 weeks running and they’re still good. Will last ages in the freezer.

    Sorellina: I figured the Italian purples would work best… in my mind I imagine it’s the difference between using plum tomatoes versus wet slicing tomatoes for oven-drying. Some people do use the wet varieties but I prefer the results from a drier plum type.

  7. Monsanto announced that it was experiencing a 18 percent revenue loss today. They lost control of the exclusive rights for Roundup and the generic products are much cheaper than the brand name. So sad

  8. I’m not going to share what I was googling when this came up… But oven drying would be good to do with my last batch of tomatoes.

  9. Thanks for using an anatomically correct word, rather than Vajay-jay, or my personal favorite euphemism, “Wishie”.

    It would have diminished the plums, somehow.

  10. Hi Gayla, I read this post yesterday and thought it was great and witty and fun. Last night I told my husband about it (he’s a fan of your work too) and somehow it became even more amusing, here’s what we’ve decided: we love you, don’t ever change.

  11. I think this is wonderful.

    I love how sensual food is, and how it reminds me of how connected we are to what we eat.

    You might enjoy a book by Inga Muscio – it’s very frank and refreshing and does wonders for any squeamishness about our beautiful body parts :)

  12. was searching for an accessory company called FluffCo but came to your site instead. “Gardening…huh?” thought me — the girl with the “black thumb.” I wasn’t overly enthused. But it was a pretty site with alluring words, and so i clicked once, then again, finally arriving at the vagina post. I immediately keyed into your candor and appreciate it. Twas a click of fate.

  13. Gayla,

    Are you storing them in the freezer after drying or in the cabinet? I’m going to do this AND oven dried tomatos when my Dad comes to visit next week. He’ll have a blast doing this along w/ canning tomatoes and making relish. He loves canning and used to make watermelon pickle when I was a kid. :-)

  14. I love it! Coochie Plums!

    The photo is actually very lovely. I don’t really like plums, so the pic tricked me into reading about something I normally would have skipped.

    I too recommend the book by Inga Muscio, the book whose title I shall not name :-)

  15. Repent that dirty mind! There’s a bible verse that prohibits this. Corinthians? Galacians?
    Here…1st Torontonians 3:18–”Thou shalt not call the name of the fruit of the vine by the name of the female sex organ and holy birth canal”
    Hope Pope Joe Ratz doesn’t read these forums.

  16. Repent that dirty mind! There’s a bible verse that prohibits this. Corinthians? Galacians?
    Here…1st Torontonians 3:18–”Thou shalt not call the name of the fruit of the vine by the name of the female sex organ and holy birth canal”
    Hope Pope Joe Ratz doesn’t read these forums.

Comments are closed.