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This easy sweet and spicy plum sauce recipe is what you make when your sweet neighbors show up with a box of beautiful yellow plums. Or, it's the recipe you print out and deliver with the plums you might be gifting to someone else because you have a plethora. Or… okay, you get the point, however you got your plums, this is the sauce to make.
It would be delicious with purple plums, but it works especially well with yellow plums, because I've found (maybe it's just my misfortune) that the yellow plums around here don't have as much flavor as the purple plums. But, I refuse to let any produce go to waste, so this sauce is the one for me right now. Plus, my son has developed a strong craving for any type of sweet and spicy sauce on chicken, and we need to keep those growing boys fed, right? Well, the already grown ones, too.
Food processor– this little beauty literally shaves hours off of prep time when canning. Not to mention all other forms of chopping, slicing, grating, and nut butter making. You can try a blender, but beings we don't want it totally pureed, I highly recommend one of these, one of the best Christmas gifts I ever received.
Ball Book of Complete Canning– Whenever I'm on the hunt for a new canning recipe, this is one of the first places I turn.
Water Bath Canner– Can you believe I still borrow my mother's? Yep, I totally need to get one of my own, because I realized I'd “given it back” to her and had to run and down and get it with five minutes left on the cooking time of the sauce.
Begin with rinsing off your plums. We need 10 cups worth of pitted (this was the longest part of the whole recipe) and finely diced plums. I just used my fingers and squished the pit out, as these were very ripe. I'm sure there's a less messy way to do it, but sometimes, our hands really are the best tool.
After you've got your plums prepped, diced (whirled in the food processor which makes it kind of runny) and measured, dump the rest of the ingredients in a heavy bottom stock pot. Using a thick bottomed (yes, that phrase made me giggle, too) keeps your sauce from scorching. Put all the rest of the ingredients, minus the plums, in and bring to a boil.
Add your plums and return to a simmer. Let simmer for 1 hour and about 40 minutes, until sauce has reduced and thickened up some. You can see the line in the above photo of when I started the plum sauce and when it was done reducing at the end of the time.
Ladle your sauce into clean Mason jars to a 1/2 inch headspace. Take a spatula or butter knife and run around the inside of the jar to remove air bubbles. Wipe rim of jar with clean damp towel. Place on lids and tighten down bands to finger tip tight.
Process in a hot water bath for 20 minutes. Make sure water covers the jars by at least an inch. Begin processing time when water comes to a full boil. When done, remove canner from heat and remove lid. Allow to cool for 5 to 10 minutes before using a jar lifter to remove the jars. Place jars on a towel folded in thirds in a draft free area and allow undisturbed for at least 12 hours. Check to make sure jars sealed and then wipe down jar and store in a dark cool pantry shelf until consuming!
The recipe yielded 6 cups for me, though the original said 4….
Recipe adapted from Ball Book of Complete Canning
Melissa K. Norris inspires people's faith and pioneer roots with her books, podcast, and blog. Melissa lives with her husband and two children in their own little house in the big woods in the foothills of the North Cascade Mountains. When she's not wrangling chickens and cattle, you can find her stuffing Mason jars with homegrown food and playing with flour and sugar in the kitchen.