Friday, August 19, 2011

The Plum Trees Are Laden

We have a little plum tree in our back yard.
Some years it produces buckets-full,
so much that I call friends to come and help themselves.

Other years it seems to take a sabbatical.
This is one of those years,
which is okay with me.  After all,
we still have plenty of plum jam in the pantry.

Wild, tart roadside plums

Help with pitting buckets of plums (more in the fridge!)  2009

So, in homage to our faithful little tree,
I am sharing some recipes with you.
The kind that will carry you through the
long winter months to come.

For rosy apples, juicy plums,
And honey from the bees,
We thank You, Heavenly Father God,
For such good gifts as these.

~ Anonymous

Plum Chutney
yield 10-12 pints

10 cups chopped plum
4 cups cider vinegar
6 cups brown sugar
1 cup preserved ginger

 Tie these up in a cheesecloth:
3 cinnamon sticks
8-10 whole cloves
8-10 whole allspice
6 cardamom pods

Put ingredients into large nonreactive pot.
Simmer until thick, approximately 1-2 hours.
When thick, pour into hot, sterilized jars.
Adjust lids, not too tight.
Process 10 minutes.
Tighten lids.

Botanical plum, Redoute

Plum Chutney
yields 2 pints

3/4 cup cider vinegar
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1-1/2 teaspoon hot pepper flakes
1/2 cup slivered, crystallized ginger
2 teaspoons pickling salt
2 teaspoons mustard seed
2 large cloves garlic, sliced thin
1/4 chopped onion
1 cup golden raisins
3-1/2 cups halved plums

In heavy, nonreactive pot, boil vinegar and sugars, dissolving sugar.
Add remaining ingredients, except plums.  Mix well.
Stir in plums.
Simmer, stirring, until thickened, about 50 minutes.
Ladle hot chutney into sterilized jars, leaving 1/4-inch head space.
Adjust lids.  Process.

Damson Plum, by Petula Stone

Pickled Plums
yields 6 quarts

6-1/2 pounds plums
5-1/2 cups cider vinegar
4 cups sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
6 small dried chili peppers
12 whole cloves
36 allspice berries
1 Tablespoon cardamom pods
24 thin slices fresh ginger

Prick each plum 3x.
In a large, nonreactive pot, bring vinegar and sugar to a boil.
Stir to dissolve sugar.
Add plums and reduce heat to low.
Let them cook gently until heated.
Put 1/3 of a cinnamon stick, 1 chili pepper, 2 cloves, 6 allspice berries, 1/2 teaspoon cardamom pods, and 4 slices of ginger into each sterilized jar.
Ladle hot plums into jars.
Cover with hot syrup, leaving 1/2-inch head space.
Seal and process.

Théo van Rysselberghe, Still Life with Plums, 1926

Pickled Plums With Red Wine
yields 4 quarts

6 pounds firm plums
1 teaspoon whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks, broken
4 thin slices fresh ginger
4-2/3 cup sugar
3 cup red wine vinegar
3 cups red wine

Prick plums each 3x.
Tie spices and ginger into cheesecloth bag.
Put into nonreactive pot with sugar, vinegar, and wine.
Bring to a boil, dissolving sugar.
Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes.
Remove from heat and cool.
Put plums into a bowl.
Pour cooled syrup over them and let rest 8-12 hours.
Drain off syrup into nonreactive pot,
add spice bag,
and bring to a boil.
Remove pot from heat, let syrup cool.
Pour over plums.
Let rest in syrup 8-12 hours.
Put all back into nonreactive pot.
Cook plums over low heat until skins begin to crack.
Transfer to sterile quart jars.
Boil syrup until thickened, then pour over plums. leaving 1/2-inch head space.

Benjamin Roberts, Still life of plums with a cabbage white, 1862

Plum Schnapps
This doesn't take so many plums as the previous recipes.  I should be able to make this with our sparse crop this year.  Wouldn't it be delicious drizzled over a little vanilla bean ice cream?  Or splashed into a hot Christmas cider?

Use sweet and fully ripe plums - cultivated or wild cherry plums (Prunus cerasifera).
The plums must be fresh, firm, unwrinkled, smooth-skinned with no blemishes or soft spots.
You can make the schnapps in different ways.
You can use either the whole fruits, the whole fruits with small holes in them, or the whole fruits cut into halves - with or without the pits.
Using different methods, you get different results. It's a matter of taste which method you may want to use.
Personally I prefer the method with whole plums with small holes in them - I use a thick needle to pierce the skin to the pit.
You can use frozen plums. Just remember to defrost them in the vodka.

  • Put 10-15 plums in a clean glass jar with tight-fitting lid.
  • Cover well with clear, unflavoured vodka - 40% alcohol content (80 proof).
  • Let steep for 3-6 months or more in a dark place at room temperature, 18-20°C (64-68°F).
  • Shake lightly and taste it from time to time.
  • Strain and filter your infusion into a clean glass bottle or jar with tight-fitting lid.
  • Store (age) for at least 2 months in a dark place at room temperature before serving.


  1. Really appreciate you linking up this awesome post at Creative Bloggers' Party & Hop :) Please continue sharing your creativity with us during the weekly party.

  2. This is very good information a really nice blog. keep it up!!!

    Plum trees & Planting asparagus


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As long as I'm on this journey, rambling through life's exhilarating highs and trudging heavily amongst it's incapacitating lows, I might as well share whatever may be gleaned from my little bits of wisdom and my many missteps. No room for judgment from this broken mama. I'm writing from my heart: raw, open, messy, but saved. And I'm still thanking God!