Thursday, 16 February 2012

Easy to make - Plum sauce

Have you noticed that plums are in season at the moment? Maybe? Have you noticed the price plummet? Yes? Me too! My Mom made plum sauce from our own plum trees when I was a kid and I know I used it like you would normally use tomato sauce. On meat sandwiches, on my sausages, in a burger. We always seemed to have some in the pantry. 

I remember one year Mom had us kids up on the roof of the garage picking plums off the tree out the front almost in the dark as she frantically tried to water down the 1 tablespoon of cayenne pepper (instead of 1/2 a teaspoon) that she had put into this years batch of plum sauce! As I said, we always seemed to have plum sauce in the house.

I was flicking through my Edmond's cookbook - a New Zealand classic - and found a recipe for plum sauce - and it has 1/2 a teaspoon of cayenne pepper in it so I bet its the same one my Mom used! I decided that since plums were under $2 a kilo, I would give it a go... 

Here's what I did...

Halve two and a half kilo's of plums and pop them in a large pot with 4 cups of malt or red wine vinegar.

Add 3 cups of brown sugar, 1 teaspoon of salt, I teaspoon of ground cloves, 1 teaspoon of ground pepper, 8 cloves of garlic (finely chopped) and one teaspoon of ground ginger and give it all a good stir. The recipe also calls for 1 teaspoon of mace - but I didn't have any...

Let it all bubble away until the plums lose their shape and you have loose pips floating around. Stir it occasionally so it doesn't stick to the bottom. The kitchen will smell really good - open the windows and let the neighbours have a whiff of home made plum sauce in the making...

Then the pips need to come out. I started just fishing the  out with a spoon but that was tiresome. Then I started using the mouli but it just jammed on the pips so in the end I sieved them out with my trusty colander and a soup ladle. Messy but effective! I got the pips out and managed to mashed all the pulp into a thick mess!

Boil the pulp back up and give it a really good stir. Adjust the seasonings if you think it needs it at this point - be careful - its HOT. Don't burn your mouth when you taste it! 

Sterilise your bottles by microwaving them on high with an inch of water in the bottom for 2-3 minutes. (Have a look at my tomato sauce making post for pictures and better sterilising instructions!) Then pour your hot sauce into your hot bottles using a funnel, pop the lid on, wipe down the outsides of the bottles and pop on the window sill to cool.

Yumm!!! Enjoy, just the way you would tomato sauce! Making this sauce has inspired me to make pork ribs in plum sauce for dinner later this week!

I got just over 2 litres out of this recipe. It should keep up to a year but will need refrigerating once it is  opened!

Score card:
Green-ness: 5/5 for making your own food from cheap, in season fruit bought locally!
Frugal-ness: 5/5 for buying cheap plums and preserving them for future use!
Time cost: About an hour all up!
Skill level: Not so hard - Try it and tell me how you went!
Fun-ness: Love filling the kitchen with yummy smells!


Something lubely said...

oooh yummy. plum sauce brings back memories of my nana - she made the best plum sauce. I might have to give this a try !

Practical Frog said...

Yes! Definatly give it a go - I think I made it look harder than it needed to be (and messier) by looking for a quick way to get the pips out - there isnt one! I might as well have taken them out one at a time with the ladle and just enjoyed the sight and smell than resorting to mehanical means that were waaaaay to messy and did'nt work in the end anyway! Let em know how you went! - Kara

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