In Russia, prunes appeared not so long ago. Received only in the last century. However, now for many it has become a favorite product, and for a large number of people it is simply necessary. Especially popular this dried fruit becomes in winter. Probably, even if the plum had been taught to store for quite a long time, prunes would have remained popular because of their unique taste and beneficial properties.
Plum varieties for prunes
In order to get a delicious prunes, raw materials for him need to choose the appropriate. Best suited variety of plums, bearing the name "Italian Hungarian." The fruits of this variety are large, oval in shape, their color is bluish with a gray tint. This variety is great for drying because it has a dense skin and elastic flesh. In addition, in this plum little acid and a lot of sugar. Also this variety is very fond of those who canned plums. This results from the fact that at such plum the stone is easily separated from pulp. Therefore, it is convenient for processing required for conservation.
Besides Hungarian Italian, Hungarian Ajan and Hungarian purple can be used for drying. In addition, suitable Ugorka, Burton and Raisin-Eric.
When preparing prunes, it is necessary to take into account the fact that for this purpose it is necessary to select only ripe fruits. After all, it is in such fruits the highest concentration of sugar and aromatic substances. Plum for prunes must be picked from the ground, and not plucked from the branches. When the plum falls from the tree, it has reached optimum maturity. Before collecting the plum tree, it is necessary to shake the tree a bit in order for damaged, rotten and wormy fruits to fall. The next morning, you can pick up the already ripe ripe plums.
Preparation for drying prunes
- Cooking prunes is not so easy as it seems at first glance. If you just dry the plum, you will not get prunes from it. If the berry is simply left to dry, then it will most likely lose its juice, it will become very tough and its skin will get far from black, but rather a brown shade. In order to get a delicious and healthy prunes, berries must be prepared for drying.
- Before the drying process begins, the drain is stored on a covered area in baskets. Each basket should be no more than sixteen pounds of plums. Berry storage should last no more than three days, otherwise fermented processes will begin in the plucked fruits, and the tissues will begin to disintegrate. Of course, before you start to dry plums, they must be thoroughly washed. Rinse the berries need as many times as necessary. When you wash the plums for the last time, you should see absolutely clean, clear water.
- After you make sure that the fruits are washed thoroughly, you need to separate large and small plums from each other, in other words, sort them. After you pick up all the berries, you need to examine them all for the presence of plums unsuitable for drying. When you finish the inspection process, rinse the plums again. But this training is not over yet. Now the fruit must be blanched. This means that the plums must be cooked (that is, treated with hot water). This treatment will help make the tissues of the berries softer, force the air out of the fetus and increase its cell size. In addition, lowering the fetus into the water contributes to the destruction of oxidative enzymes. Of the useful substances in blanching, only a little ascorbic acid is lost. The number of all other important elements remains virtually unchanged. However, treatment with plain water is not enough.
- In order to remove the wax layer from the surface of the berry (especially in Hungary it is much), it is also necessary to apply alkali treatment. For these purposes, suitable boiling caustic soda solution (one percent). The berries should be in it for fifteen to twenty seconds. However, it should be noted that at home you can not completely wash the berries after processing. Therefore, at home to use cautic soda is not recommended. Instead, it is better to use potash. After treatment with alkali, plums must be cooled.
- After the berries go through all types of processing and cooling, their skin should be covered with a grid of fine cracks. The appearance of these cracks during drying will contribute to the release of water through them. Without these cracks, the skin of a berry will burst, as a result, the juice will immediately drain out all, and we cannot get prunes. However, all preparations will not be enough if you do not follow the rules of drying.
How to dry prunes?
Usually, drying is a fairly simple process. However, in the case of prunes, this is not at all the case. Nowadays, fruit can be dried either in high-bay cabinets or in channel dryers. Drying plums is different from drying, for example, apples. Apples begin to dry at a high temperature. In the process of drying it is gradually reduced. In the case of plums, their juicy and soft fruits must first be slightly withered. This process is necessary so that the plums do not burst. For this, the berries must first be dried at a temperature of between forty and fifty degrees. At this temperature, the berries must be kept for several hours. Then the temperature can be raised and the fruit can already be dried at a higher temperature.
At the stage of drying, prunes acquire their own taste qualities. This happens due to the biochemical processes occurring inside the fetus. Also in the process of drying prunes accumulate a large number of monosaccharides (fructose and glucose). That is why Prunes are often included in various diets. In addition, prunes have a positive effect on gastrointestinal activity, stimulating it.
Prunes store a lot of useful properties. This dried fruit will help you normalize blood pressure, improve the condition of the digestive system, and strengthen the nervous system. In addition, real, properly cooked prunes have excellent, incomparable taste. Eat to your health!