Summer is a great time for preserving fruit. Some of my fondest memories from childhood were harvesting from my grandma and uncle’s fruit trees with my brothers. Then helping my family preserve the food we watched grow.
It is becoming increasingly important for us to be preserving food and reduce our reliance on the food chain by growing and making what we can. Try preserving your extra summer fruit into jam/jelly, syrup, alcohol preserves, and/or fermented sauces and drinks.
Below are four delicious recipes to help you process your abundant plum harvest or shopping. Turn your fresh fruit into sauces, syrups, jams, and other preserves to enjoy throughout the year.
Let's briefly highlight the nutritional benefits of this extremely juicy, tart, and sweet fruit.
Plums originated in China, thousands of years ago, and spread throughout Asia, Europe, and America. There are more than 2,000 varieties varying in size and color.
Plums are rich in antioxidants–supporting healthy cells, the brain, and the skin. Antioxidants protect our cells and have anti-ageing benefits. Enjoy this fruit for many other micro-nutrients like Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Vitamins A, C, K, Folate, and more.
The natural sugars, fibre, and nutrients feed our beneficial flora and support healthy elimination. Prunes are plum varieties that are less juicy and are a classic remedy to regulate bowel movements.
As a general rule for making simple syrups, use equal parts sugar to liquid. I find that to be so sweet and unnecessary, especially when using fruit as the base. I use anywhere between 1/3 to 1/2 part sugar or honey to sweeten and help preserve. When using sugar, I often replace half the sugar with monk fruit sweetener to help reduce the overall glycemic index. Allow your palate to guide your recipes.
For every 2 cups of puree, start with 1/2 cup sugar (I used 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup monk fruit sweetener). Add 1-2 tbsp lemon juice and spices. Taste, and adjust the sugar and other ingredients if needed.
Add pectin to proportion, to turn the syrups preserve into a jam. If you want to avoid the pectin, cook the mixture up to 20 minutes longer to reduce the liquid and thicken. This may affect colour, texture, and flavours.
Cut plums in half, remove the pit and mix in a blender until skins are pureed. Pour mixture into a pot on medium heat. Mix in sugar (or monk fruit sweetener or honey), lemon juice, cinnamon, and fresh ginger slices. Stir frequently and bring it to a simmer. Reduce heat and allow the mixture to gently simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat source. Use a fork to remove the slice of ginger. Pour it into warm sterile bottles or jars.
Cut plums in half, remove the pit, and mix in a blender until skins are pureed. If using rose petals or powder, blend into the plum puree. Pour mixture into a pot on medium heat. Mix in sugar (or monk fruit sweetener or honey). This is where you can add a cut vanilla bean if you are using it. Stir frequently and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat and allow the mixture to gently simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat source. Stir in rose hydrosol and/or vanilla bean extract if you are using them. Pour into warm sterile bottles or jars.
Wash and cut plums in half to remove pit and blend in a blender until skins are pureed. You can remove the skins and chop plums instead; however, I prefer to get the nutrients from the whole fruit, as many many nutrients are concentrated in the skin.
Add all other ingredients (vinegar, sugar, spices) into a saucepan and stir on medium-high heat, until you reach a simmer. Reduce heat to low, add in your plums (chopped or pureed), and return to simmer, stirring frequently. Simmer for 5 minutes or until the sauce has thickened. Pour into warm sterile bottles or jars.
I usually do not use an exact recipe or keep track of measurements when I make fruit sauces. Have fun combining different fruits and spices together to make your own delicious creations. Explore adding in additional herb boosting herbs and spices for added benefits to support you and your family through fall and winter.
Add fruit into a blender and puree. You can add in any powdered herbs and spices or small seeds at this time to blend too. Wait to add any larger herbs and spices until after blending.
Combine into a large pot (stovetop, crockpot, or pressure cooker) and slowly cook on low heat for at least 2 hours. Remove any larger herbs and spices with a utensil. Puree again if you need to.
Store in a sealed container in the fridge and use within 2 weeks.
Sterilize glass by soaking jars or bottles in recently boiled water for 30-60 seconds before filling. Using a funnel and ladle, spoon into containers. Clean the rim and do a very gentle tap on a soft surface like a towel on the counter to allow the preserve to settle into the container and release air bubbles.
If you are not preserving, allow the containers to cool for 12 hours and store them in the fridge. The syrup preparations and plum sauce often store up to 6 months ( I have had some last longer but it will be best to use within 6 months). The storage for sauces in the fridge will vary but will not last as long as the sugar preserved syrups.
If you would like to preserve your syrups/sauces for pantry storage, use canning jars. Fill jars until 1/2 inch from the top. Secure lid and ring. Place on a rack in a water bath with 1 inch of water above the lid. Boil for 20 minutes to preserve. Remove and allow to cool for 12 hours before storing. Store in a cool, dry, and dark place for up to 18 months. Store in the fridge after opening.
Comment and let us know what you think of these recipes. Share with us your favorite plum recipes and how you like to enjoy your fruit preserves.
Interested in more delicious recipes, healthy substitutions, creative meal ideas, cooking with herbs, how to use food as medicine, and general health tips?