This time of year is very busy for food preservationists. It can be very easy to get overwhelmed with tomato projects. But this is very important. Put the tomatoes down and get yourself some plums. You know, those lovely Italian Prune-plums. The same variety we used to make Plum Liqueur.
I have tried a lot of new canning recipes this year… but I have a favorite that I am about to share with you. And I promise you will love it!
Armed with a plethora of Italian prune-plums, I made a batch of plum sauce and then decided I wanted to make some stewed plums with a sugary-boozy sauce. We typically make boozy-sugary preserved cherries, but I didn’t make any this year so I thought this would be a good stand in for holiday gift giving. We opened up a jar last night, and it was pure heaven! I just finished mopping up the last of the sauce with a piece of angelfood cake. That is a combination that you must try.
Boozy Spiced Sugar Plums (makes 8 pints) adapted from Tall Clover Farm
4 to 4 1/2 lbs plums (we used the Italian prune plums, but you could probably use any variety)
1 lb. dark brown sugar
4 c. water
1 1/2 – 2 c. brandy (or other booze of your choice) – optional
4 cinnamon sticks, broken in half
4-8 pieces of star anise – optional
8 whole cloves
1 1/2″ piece of ginger, cut into 8 slices
Prepare a hot water bath canner, jars, lids, etc. Sterilize the jars.
Halve the plums and remove the pits.
With a vegetable peeler, remove the zest from the oranges in long strips, being careful not to remove the white pith. Juice the oranges and set aside.
In a medium saucepan, combine the water, brown sugar, and orange juice. Bring to a boil and remove from heat.
In hot sterilized jars, place the following in each jar:
1/2 cinnamon stick
1 whole clove
1 slice of ginger
1 star anise (optional)
1-2 long strips of orange zest
Pack the plums into the jars, cut-side down. Pack the fruit really well, leaving 1 inch of headspace.*
Pour 1 1/2 to 2 ounces of brandy into each jar (if using)
Pour sugar syrup into each jar, leaving 1 inch of headspace. Use a chopstick to remove any air bubbles and add more syrup if needed.
Wipe the rims of the jars, and top with jar lid and jar ring. Bring to finger-tip tightness.
Place pints in a water-bath canner and bring to a boil. After it comes to a full, rolling boil, process for 20 minutes. Turn off heat and remove the lid. Leave jars in canner for another 5 minutes. Remove from canner.
*The headspace is very important, be sure to leave a full inch.
When I was making the syrup, I was afraid it would be overly sweet. But I assure you, the finished product will be perfect. It tastes delightfully of plums, while having hints of orange and a gentle spice of cinnamon, clove and ginger. (I have not tried the ones with star anise yet…)
We made a few jars with the star anise, and a few without. We even made some jars without the brandy for those who are alcohol-free.
If you would like to try a different spirit in this, I think bourbon or rum would be very nice.
Please try making these. You will thank me later…