Plum Sauce for Canning {full sugar}

Note: There is an updated version of this recipe that uses less sugar here.

canned plum sauce

I made plum sauce a number of years ago for the first time, mainly because I had a huge amount of Italian plums that I needed to use. I had the dryer full (Italian plums are wonderful dried- nothing like prunes) and fruit flies trying to get the rest, so I was willing to try something new.

Now I make sure to do a batch each year. It’s so good to have on hand for Asian dishes. I especially like to make moo shoo pancakes (well, pseudo cakes, as they’re actually Mexican tortillas!): Stir fry cabbage, broccoli and carrots with some chicken or pork, add just a little sauce made of soy sauce, rice vinegar, garlic and ginger, and put it in a flour tortilla with some of the plum sauce. Tasty like the pancakes you get in a restaurant, but easier (and cheaper) to find.

I’ve adapted this recipe from the one in the Ball Blue Book, basically replacing some fresh ingredients (ginger and chilies) for dry in order to up the garlic from one clove to two and using dry mustard instead of mustard seed.

I like to use Italian plums for 2 reasons:

  1. They are drier so take less time to thicken and
  2. They grow in abundance around here, so I can usually find them for free.

BUT, I have made this with regular plums and other than being more yellow and taking a bit longer to cook, it was just as good. In addition to plums you’ll also need brown and white sugar, cider vinegar, onion, garlic, salt, dried ginger, dry mustard, and dried red pepper flakes.

Wash and cut plums in half. Remove the pit and coarsely chop. As you can see, I just cut into 8 pieces because I’m going to cook them down and use an immersion blender later to hasten the sauce, so I don’t worry so much about the size of the pieces.

Mix all the other ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil.

Add the chopped plums and bring to a boil again; reduce heat and simmer cook for about 30 minutes until plums are softened and sauce has thickened some.

Now is when I use the immersion blender to move the process along. It also helps to incorporate the skins into the sauce for a smoother effect. Just process for a minute until desired consistency.

Cook a little longer until thick and syrupy.

Prepare lids, jars, and canner while sauce cooks. See this step-by-step boiling water canning tutorial for more instructions.

Ladle hot sauce into hot 1/2-pint jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace and attach lids.

Process for 20 minutes in a boiling water canner. Turn off heat, remove lid and let sit for 5 minutes before removing to a towel-lined counter to cool before storing.


Homemade Canned Plum Sauce

  • 4 pounds plums (about 10 cups chopped)
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup chopped onion (about 1 medium)
  • 1 Tb. dry mustard
  • 2 tsp. dried red pepper flakes (adjust to desired spiciness)
  • 2 Tb. ground ginger
  • 1 Tb. salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 c. cider vinegar
  1. Wash, pit and coarsely chop plums.
  2. Combine remaining ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil; add plums and return to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes.
  4. Process with an immersion blender until desired consistency (optional), and cook until thick and syrupy.
  5. Prepare canner, lids, and 1/2-pint jars.
  6. Ladle hot sauce into hot jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Attach lids and process for 20 minutes in a boiling water canner. Remove lid, turn off heat, and let sit for 5 minutes before removing to a towel-lined counter to cool.
  7. Remove rings and wipe clean for storage in a cool, dark place.

Makes about 8 1/2-pint jars



  1. says

    This looks wonderful! Thank you for sharing your recipe. I love your blog and hope to follow your progress for food cost reduction. I’m trying to harvest and can as much as possible to lower my costs as well!

  2. Jenelle says

    Yet another very delicious and simple recipe. About 10 years ago I had a plum tree that produced more plums then I could manage. It would have been nice to make this sauce.

    Now I just need to find a source of free plums!

    Do you go through all 8 jars every year? Or do you end up giving some of it out as gifts?

  3. Jami @An Oregon Cottage says

    Thanks, Katie! Hope your efforts are successful. :-)

    Jenelle- I do give some as gifts- one year I did a ton of canning and put 4-5 jars of things with recipes to use them in a basket for Christmas gifts for my extended family. Usually I give a few jars each year to various people, but we do manage to eat most of what I put up! :-)

  4. Gerry McDonald says

    I love this recipe! I made a few minor changes and I highly encourage people to try this version – AMAZING!


    5 pounds plums, washed, cut in half and pitted (use the ripest plums possible, bordering on over-ripe)
    3/4 cups chopped onion (about 1 medium)
    1-1/2 cups brown sugar
    1 cup white sugar
    1 Tbsp dry mustard
    2 Tbsp dry, ground ginger
    1 Tbsp kosher salt
    3 cloves garlic, minced
    1 tsp red pepper flakes (or to taste)
    1 cup cider vinegar
    1/2 Serrano pepper, seeded and minced

    Chop plums in a food processor and transfer to a large heavy-bottomed pot. Chop onions and garlic in processor and add them to the plums. Combine the remaining ingredients with plums and onions, bring to a boil and then reduce heat. For a smooth sauce, puree with an immersion blender right in the pot. Cook about an hour, or until the sauce reaches the desired thickness.
    Ladle sauce into hot jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Attach lids and rings. Process 20 minutes in a boiling-water canner.

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