This lovely plum sauce came about as a happy accident. I had intended to make canned whole plums, but I walked away as they were simmering and forgot about them until the plums disintegrated. So what can you do? I decided to make them into sauce, like applesauce, only made of plums. It turned out to be a favorite of my granddaughter Brooklyn as well as most all other children who come my way at mealtimes.
HOW TO MAKE PLUM SAUCE
It’s important to use the right type of plum. Generally, you should look for a Japanese variety of plum. These are red-purple, overall more round, more delicate, and juicier than European plums. European plums are blue-purple, overall more oval and have firmer flesh. If you use a European variety you will probably need to puree them to get sauce. My plum tree is a Japanese plum variety called Santa Rosa; the fruit is blood-red inside, and as you can see in Brooklyn’s photo, when you take a bite of one the red juice dribbles all over. Children love this.
Get five or ten pounds of thoroughly ripe plums. Wash them in cool water, remove stems, cut out blemishes. Place in large cookpot with a small amount of water. Bring slowly to a simmer, allow to cook until the plums disintegrate. This could take from thirty minutes to an hour on simmer. Cool just enough so you can remove the pits. I do this by hand, wearing rubber gloves. Puree if needed. Add 1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar to each quart of fruit (I just add sugar a little at a time until it tastes good to me), stir well. Bring back to a simmer, then start filling the jars while it simmers on the stove.
HOW TO CAN PLUM SAUCE
- pint jars with two-piece lids. Of the two American brands out there, Ball and Kerr, I prefer Kerr because the jars are smooth, not embossed, so labels look great on them. Both brands can be found at most grocery stores or online.
- heavy-duty rubber gloves
- water-bath canner with rack
- wide mouth canning funnel
- paper towels cut into small squares, to wipe the rim of the jars
- extra pot of simmering water
- ladle or large cup
- plenty of hot pads, towels, sponge, apron, etc.
- jar lifter (this is helpful, but you could use your rubber gloves to pull the jars out of the water)
1.Put two-piece lids in a small pot, cover with water. Simmer for at least ten minutes to sterilize.
2.Wash jars and put in water bath canner, completely submerged in water. Be sure to have the rack in the bottom of the canner. Bring water to a simmer and keep jars in simmering water until ready to fill.
3.Fill jars to 1/2″ from top with almost-boiling plum sauce. Use wide mouth canning funnel for easy clean-up.
4.Wipe rim of jar with a clean, damp paper towel to remove any food residue.
5.Immediately place a lid, rubber-side down, over top of jar and seal with screw cap by screwing down tight. Place in water bath canner. MAKE SURE WATER IN CANNER IS VERY HOT BUT NOT BOILING. Water needs to come to ½ inch above the top of the jars; any extra water you can remove.
6.Bring water back to a gently bubbling boil.
7.Leave pint jars in the continually, gently boiling water for 20 minutes. Make sure they are completely submerged the entire time.
8.Remove jars from water, place on dry towel, screw the tops down if needed and allow to cool thoroughly.
9.Remove lids and rinse the cooled jars in fresh water. Dry, and replace lids. Decorate with labels, tags, etc as desired.
LABELS AND TAGS FOR PLUM SAUCE
- LABELS I used the 2-1/2” circle shape 11 (style: Film Edge, color: Burgundy, Font: Trend Slab Inline) for the tops and sides of the jars, using a photo of Brooklyn last summer biting into a fresh plum on a lovely summer day under the plum tree.
- TAGS shape 88 Fancy Diamond (style: Film Edge, color: Burgundy, Font: Trend Slab Inline). The final touch: black and white striped bakers twine.