Chinese Plum Sauce

Canning Chinese Plum Sauce

The last of our Santa Rosa plums. It was a very good year!

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.

Thank God.

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.

Bottling Chinese Plum Sauce

A little over 8 cups of finely chopped (in the food processor) Santa Rosa plums.

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.

Jarring Plum Sauce

First, all of the ingredients for the sauce, except the plums, were brought to a boil on the stove. This had a very, spicy, pungent, vinegar smell.

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.

Canning Plum Sauce

After about two hours, the sauce was thick and syrupy, and the smell was mouth-watering!

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.

How to bottle Chinese Plum Sauce

This recipe made eight half-pints of delicious sauce .

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:

Jarring Chinese Plum Sauce

Pork Loin Roast Grilled with Chinese Plum Sauce

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!

EDITOR”S NOTE:  Where it says you need 10 cups of finely chopped, pitted prunes – it should say pitted plums!  

Chinese Plum Sauce

Maybe next year I should make two batches of this wonderful sauce!

Now I wish I had more plums! 😀


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28 thoughts on “Chinese Plum Sauce

  1. They say “The way to a man’s heart is thru his stomach”… Well, I must say this plum sauce will be my go to for BBQ… Pork, and I can’t wait to try it on Chicken!
    Thank you for finding another way to void us of plums!
    Hubby 🙂

  2. Hi! There you are! I lost you!! Turns out you ended up in my spam account, and I never thought to look for you there!
    This recipe looks scrumptious! Occasionally we have a surplus of wild plums, and I reckon they would work just grand in this! Thankyou for the recipe!
    I have so much catching up to do! Have you moved yet? Or sold yet? How is it all going??

    • ♪♫♪ I once was lost, but now I’m found ♪♪♫♫
      Hello! Nice to hear from you again! I need to catch up with you also 😀
      Wild plums would be delicious to make this sauce with! You should have a go at it!
      Have a wonderful weekend.

    • Thanks for the invite, Shari! I will visit your Foodie Friday party next week. Thanks for pinning, also. See you again soon!

    • You know, you are probably right about the store bought stuff. I have been wandering into the world of home-made spices and condiments lately, and this was a wonderful sauce that just jumped out at me! I am so glad I tried it, although it really is a combination of several recipes! When playing with canning recipes, as long as you keep the main ingredients the same and just play around with the spices a bit, it doesn’t effect the safety of the final project. Thanks for stopping by and for your comment, Julia!

    • Ooo.. wild plums! They have so much flavor and this would be a great way to use them. Let me know how it turns out for you, Mary!

  3. This looks really spectacular! I love the idea of creating your own Asian-inspired sauces! We try to really limit our sodium intake, which cancels out our ability to eat most Chinese dishes…but making your own sauce changes that completely. Thank you so much for linking up at Snickerdoodle Sunday!! I hope you’ll come back this Saturday with your latest makes!

    Sarah (Sadie Seasongoods)

    • Thanks, Sarah! I agree about the salt thing, along with all sorts of other chemicals that are put into so many of the sauces available at the grocery store! I hope you try this one, it’s really good! Thanks for hosting!

    • It is so good, Jenna, and fairly easy to make! The only thing I would stress is that for the last 15-30 minutes of the cook down period, you never stop stirring or you might end up with burned sauce. Love your Hump Day Happenings – don’t know why I didn’t discover it earlier!

    • Yes, good idea. Then take a jar to your neighbors so they will give you more plums! 🙂 I wish I had tried this earlier because I would have made at least one more batch of the sauce. I tried it in the slow cooker over a pork roast, nothing else, and it was delicious. I read your post about your unfortunate kitchen over-haul – glad your kitchen is back in business!

  4. The sauce sounds excellent! One year we almost had an all-nighter canning all the plums hubby brought home. Plum sauce and plum jams were in my dreams (and nightmares)… But boy it sure is tasty when all the work is done 🙂 Thanks for sharing this week on the Art of Home-Making Mondays!

  5. I married into an Asian family, but have never liked plum sauce because all they ever put it on is their rice. But basting pork or chicken with it while cooking (especially bbq) sounds delicious! Our neighbor has 4 trees loaded with plums and I hate to see them go to waste. I’ve been looking for things to do with plums besides jam/jelly. I think I’ll give this a try. I pinned this recipe as well as your recipe for plum butter. Thanks for sharing!

    • Oh, and I’m going to try subbing the sugars for honey since we don’t eat refined sugar. I think I’ll add a bit of molasses for flavor in place of the brown sugar, too. I’ll let you know how it turns out (ie if the rest of the family likes it 😀 ).

      • Yes, please let me know how it turns out! Be careful, though, the molasses might have a very strong flavor or it could make the sauce burn easier. Good luck. I can’t wait to hear from you again.

    • Good morning, Maridy. The plum sauce is absolutely devine when you baste a pork roast on the grill with it. It gets caramelized and ooey-gooey. Yum! Also, the plum butter is delicious on biscuits and pancakes and oatmeal and yogurt… 🙂 You get the picture! Let me know how it works out for you.