Our Santa Rosa Plum tree outdid itself this year. I have canned a batch of crockpot plum butter and we have 12 quarts of organic plum juice all put up and ready for the winter. I love plum cobblers and we have had quite a few, but geeze louise, I shouldn’t be eating them every night! I could, but I shouldn’t.
So, I searched my canning books and right there, in my handy dandy Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving, was a recipe for Chinese Plum Sauce! Perfect. This is the stuff that you slather on a pork loin or ribs, and it makes that sweet, tangy, sticky crust. MMmmm…
Then, I found a couple more recipes, almost the same, just tweaked a bit. So, I decided to follow several recipes (the main ingredients were all the same) but tweak the spices just a bit to suit my taste.
Dearest Hubby went out and picked the last of the plums off the tree for me.
No really… I did thank God that the plums are finally done! This recipe takes 10 cups of pitted plums, so it was a winner when it came to using up a lot of them.
Of course, the first thing to do is wash the plums. The recipe calls for ten cups of finely chopped pitted plums. I ran mine through the food processor – after pitting of course! It’s just faster this way and you don’t lose any of the juice that you might lose if you were to manually chop them up on a cutting board. Although I had much more than the ten cups of plums needed to start with, these were the last of the year and so several of them had worms inside or bird peckings, so I tossed those. I ended up with just a little over nine cups, about 2/3 of a cup less than the recipe called for, but I went ahead with the sauce anyway! Usually it isn’t good to change a tried and true and safe canning recipe, but I knew that with the amount of acid (1 cup of vinegar) that was added to the plums, the sauce would be more than safe.
All of the ingredients were added to a large pot, brought to a boil, and then the plums were tossed in. This was all allowed to boil for about 2 hours – until it was thick and syrupy. The smell was amazing! It was sweet and sour at the same time, but had just a little hint of a spicy, peppery scent also. While boiling down, the peppers and onions seemed to just melt into the sauce, so it became very smooth and appetizing looking. You can see in the picture below how it sticks to the side of the pot. Well – fair warning – it sticks to the bottom of the pan, also! For the first hour or so, stirring every 10 minutes seemed to be just fine. But after a while, when the sauce is reducing and getting thick, you need to stir more often. During the last 15 minutes or so, I actually stood over the pot and kept the sauce moving. Constantly.
It was worth it.
The recipe said it would make four pint jars, but I opted to use half-pint jars instead, so I ended up with eight half-pint jars. I chose the smaller size because it seemed a bit more realistic in terms of using sauce. Especially since it’s just me and my hubby now. The sauce can be kept in the refrigerator for a week or so, as long as you don’t contaminate it by dipping your basting brush back into the jar after you have based the raw pork. So, but by using the smaller jars I figured there would be less chance of waste.
When it comes to canning the sauce, although there are onions, garlic and peppers in the recipe, there is also a good amount of vinegar (1 cup), so this recipe is fine for the waterbath canner. Even though I used smaller jars, I went ahead and left them in the waterbath canner for the full 20 minutes, as I figured it couldn’t hurt (it’s a sauce, no worries about it becoming mushy) and I would rather be more safe than sorry.
As usual, I couldn’t wait to try some! We had a pork loin roast just hanging out in the freezer, minding it’s own business – so the next morning I put it in the refrigerator in a bowl swimming in a jar of the plum sauce. As the pork loin thawed, it was marinated with the plum sauce! That evening, I grilled the pork loin “low and slow”, adding more sauce every time the loin was turned. After almost an hour, this is what I ended up with:
It is so good! The sauce coated the juicy pork loin with a sticky, carmelized sugar glaze that was out of this world good! This recipe is a keeper!
Maybe next year I should make two batches of this wonderful sauce!
Now I wish I had more plums!
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