Note: There is an updated version of this recipe that uses less sugar here.
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:
- They are drier so take less time to thicken and
- 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
- Wash, pit and coarsely chop plums.
- Combine remaining ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil; add plums and return to a boil.
- Reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes.
- Process with an immersion blender until desired consistency (optional), and cook until thick and syrupy.
- Prepare canner, lids, and 1/2-pint jars.
- 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.
- Remove rings and wipe clean for storage in a cool, dark place.
Makes about 8 1/2-pint jars