Adapted from The Zuni Café Cookbook by Judy Rodgers
You can use either unpitted or pitted prunes. Instructions for both are included—because, yes, the recipe is different depending on whether the prunes’ seeds are intact. The pitted fruit is far more commonly available and works well. There’s an allure to nibbling around the pit though. Plus, an unpitted prune’s flesh retains its shape better. If you intend to go through a lot of these prunes, double the recipe.
- Bring the water to a simmer, turn off the heat, and add the tea leaves. Let them infuse for about 8 minutes. Strain the liquid into the heatproof container you intend to store your prunes in. Stir in the sugar until dissolved. Cool until not quite hot to the touch, about 130℉ for unpitted prunes and about 100℉ for pitted prunes. (Pitted prunes tend to dissolve more easily if the temperature is too hot. Not the end of the world; not optimal either.)
- Add the prunes to the container with the liquid. Don't pack the fruit. Distribute the citrus zest in the liquid. Cover and let cool completely, shaking or stirring once or twice, then store in the refrigerator. The prunes last for at least a month or so.
Scott Hocker is a writer, editor, recipe developer, cookbook author, and content and editorial consultant. He is currently the editor in chief of liquor.com and was previously the editor in chief of Tasting Table.