Tuesday, 27 January 2009

The Art of Preserving Plums

Plum chutney, this is particularly tasty and keeps for years
2 kg plums
1/2 kg onions
2 cups raisins
1 clove garlic
4 cups soft brown sugar
2 tsp salt
1 tsp mixed spice
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
4 cups malt vinegar (approx)
Chop and put all in pan. Add enough vinegar to almost cover. Stir well. Boil gently, stirring frequently about 2 hours or until thick and jam-like. Plum stones float to the top and can be removed
Put in sterilized jars. To sterilize jars, clean them, dry them and then cook them in the oven, put the hot chutney in the hot jars and cover with a clean cloth till they cool to just warm and then put on cellophane lids with rubber bands and then the jar's original metal screw top. Done!

This is some of the plums still left after I have picked more than I need for a years supply of plum jam and plum sauce and about a four year supply of plum chutney. As you can see the weight of the fruit bends the branches to the ground. Two branches broke and many were propped up with stakes. This tree's a freak of nature and creates so much work for me at this time of year 'cause I can't bear to waste those hundreds of huge dark red plums.
Today's job is to bottle this plum sauce and all the jam. All this work was in the middle of drawing designs for a proposed mural on Tairua Library. The first designs for the Tairua Library mural were delivered to Alicia at the Thames and Coromandel District Council yesterday and finishing the 2009 Plum harvest can be done and dusted by the end of today.
Plum Sauce
2.7 kg ( 6 lbs ) plums
1.7 litres ( 3 pints ) malt vinegar
1 kg ( 2 lbs ) soft brown sugar
2 teaspoons all spice
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 teaspoon ground mace
6 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons ground ginger
50 g ( 2 ozs ) garlic
Put all ingredients into preserving pan and boil together until reduced to a pulp (about 2 - 3hours ) Plum stones float to the top and can be removed. Stain through sieve and bottle in sterilized bottles ( I don't strain mine)

Plum Jam

to 2.7 kg ( 6 lbs ) plums add 1 1/4 cups water. Cook slowly until fruit is pulped. Add 2 kg
( 4 & 1/2 lbs ) soft brown sugar and boil quickly for about 15 minutes. Test. Stones may be picked out as they float to the surface.
Put into sterilized jars and keep in the fridge once opened


  1. Found your blog from your words on mine. I enjoy your drawings. These photos remind me of William Carlos Williams:

    This Is Just To Say

    I have eaten
    the plums
    that were in
    the icebox

    and which
    you were probably
    for breakfast

    Forgive me
    they were delicious
    so sweet
    and so cold

  2. Ha! Thanks for the poem. After I had used up every jar and bottle for sauce, jam and chutney I rang my pal Wazza and he came and got a ute load of the remaining plums to make wine with. I now have six 1.5 litre bottles of plum wine stashed. Next time you're in New Zealand pop in and we'll crack a couple of those bottles and talk about William Blake, Japanese prints and the meaning of life...

  3. Hello,
    loving your recipes, wondering if you might like these to add to your collection? http://www.wellbeingmagazine.co.uk/article/cherry-plum-recipes