Asian Plum Sauce is a delicious way to use fresh plums. And it's that time of year when plums are ripe and available in stores, farmer's markets, and backyard trees.
Plums come in a huge variety of sizes and colours. But there are two main types of plums: Japanese plums, like the black plums that I'm using in this plum sauce, and European plums. Japanese plums are round, while European plums are oblong. I found this awesome pictorial of the many plum varieties that you may want to check out: Types of Plums and Pluots, Plus Everything Plum.
Homemade Plum Sauce Is Best
I've always loved plum sauce, but not the glutinous pink stuff that comes in little packets at Chinese restaurants. Well, ok, really, actually I did like that stuff once upon a time. Until I made real plum sauce, from real plums, and never looked back.
Spices for Plums
Plums have a great affinity for spice, so I really loaded up this sauce with them. Allspice, ground cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger, along with garlic, really complement the plummy flavour. This sauce is tangy, sweet, and spicy all at once.
Asian Plum Sauce is a Versatile Pantry Item
Asian plum sauce is really easy to make and it's a really great staple to have it in the pantry. I used it for a dipping sauce when I made Pork and Plum Kebabs, and it's perfect for spring rolls, too. Plum sauce makes a nice glaze for grilled or baked chicken (wings, anyone?) or even a topping for turkey burgers or salmon. Or, serve it with baked brie, or on a charcuterie board of cured meats and cheeses. See what I mean? I really could go on & on. It's just a really handy little pantry item.
The sauce is quite thick, so it works great as a spread, but you can also thin it with apple cider vinegar for a great dipping sauce, so it does double duty. This recipe is a very small batch, only 4 half-pint jars, so if you want more to have in your pantry, double the recipe. This yummy plum sauce also makes a great addition to a homemade gift basket over the holidays or a hostess gift.
Processing Your Filled Jars
If you process your filled jars in a boiling water canner, the jars will keep in the pantry for at least a year. If you don't have a canner, you can use an existing pot. The pot needs to be at least 3" deeper that the height of the jars, and should have a rack to elevate the jars so that the boiling water can circulate around the jars. You can use a cake rack, or use extra screw bands on the bottom of the pot.
After processing your jars of plum sauce for 15 minutes, remove them using canning tongs and place them on a kitchen towel to cool for 24 hours.
How to Tell if Your Jars are Sealed
To check your cooled jars for seals, remove the screw bank and press down on the center of each lid. If the jar is properly sealed, the center will be concave and there will be no movement. If the jar is not sealed store it in the fridge and use it within a week.
Store sealed jars in the pantry for up to one year.
Asian Plum Sauce
- 1 lb plums finely chopped. Should be about 2 cups
- 1 ½ cups firmly packed brown sugar
- 2 cups apple cider vinegar
- 1 ½ tsp salt
- 1 onion diced
- 4 cloves garlic minced or crushed
- 2 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
- 1 tsp dried red pepper flakes
- ¼ tsp each allspice, ground cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger.
- Combine plums, brown sugar, and vinegar in a large stainless steel pot.
- Over high heat, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 3 minutes, stirring. Add all other ingredients, stirring continuously and bring back to a simmer.
- Continue to simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened.
- Remove from heat.
- Use an immersion blender right in the pot, or transfer to a blender and process until sauce is smooth.
- Transfer to clean, sterilized jars. Process jars for 15 minutes in a boiling water canner.