You can make great jam/jelly, preserves and chutneys, fruit tarts and pies! Peaches are a little more versitile than plums, but both are unbeatble when tree ripened and are canned very well.
We offer our Pick-Your-Own fruit bags for easy peach and plum carrying!
Like in the supermarket, you can ripen underripe fruit, but it never gets as sweet or flavorful, so be sure to pick fruit that has just started to soften. Don’t over squeeze your fruit to test it, it does’t take much. Hold gently in your hand and roll over the stem to brake away from the branch. Some of the plum varieties you can tell how close it is to ripe just by the color (peaches a little bit – more yellow then green), others turn color long before they ripen. Be sure to check which kind of plums we are picking before you head into the orchard. Always be very gentle with your fruit, you don’t want to bruise it. And though your are picking into a bag, be sure not to pile peaches or plums too high, unlike apples which are much more crisp and firm, they will start to bruise under more than just a couple layers of fruit.
To freeze or to can – that is the question! It all depends on what you goal is in the end. Either way, remove the skin on peaches, leave it on plums.
To just eat – I recommend canning. Peaches and Italian Plums can wonderfully. We have a couple of Japanese style plums that we have not tried to can yet, so I can’t tell you for sure, but they say you can online. Only a light syrup is required and they can be eaten right away or sit on your shelf for a couple years. The Italian plums color deepens as it sits and we recommend waiting a couple months before eating as the flavor improves a lot!
To bake or jam – I’d say freeze only because its less work. Peaches you want to be sure to add lemon juice or citric acid to keep from browning, adding a little water to fill in the spaces between slices also helps. Slices or halves is up to you. I don’t think plums would hold up well in the freezer unless using for jelly. When freezing to bake or jam with I don’t recommend adding sugar because you would have to adjust your recipe later.
Again, be sure to remove the skin on your peaches, not on your plums. Much of the flavor and color in the skin of the plum you want to keep, where the peach fuzz you don’t, and the skin turns brown.