Canning Plum Sauce – Recipe

canning plum sauce, chopping plums

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One of the first fruits to come into season here is plums. This year we planted plum trees so I am very excited that in the coming years we will have our own to harvest. ‘Til then I rely on the kindness of neighbors. Most trees I have been given the opportunity to pick are just over laden with fruit so I end up bringing home lots of juicy, sweet plums. One of my favorite things is canning plum sauce with all of those plums.

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canning plum sauce, chopping plums

I discovered this recipe one year when we were gifted with more pounds of plums than I care to remember. Plum jam, plum jelly had been made then I had baked plum cakes and a plum buckle and yet I still had plums. I went to my trusty Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving to seek out what else I could do with plums. A recipe for Plum Sauce was found and I thought it looked interesting; Asian food is a favorite and figured it would be a nice addition to the pantry. Little did I know….

It is AMAZING! It is sweet, sour, hot, and it is fantastic on chicken, shrimp, pork, scallops and even lobster. Every year I have been lucky enough to acquire plums I have used every jar I can. So I am very thankful to the friend who traded us strawberries and plums for two watermelons. Great way to make a garden produce!

canning plum sauce

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Plum Sauce

2 cups lightly packed brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup cider vinegar
3/4 cup finely chopped onion
2 TBSP finely chopped seeded green chili pepper (I used red pepper flakes – 1 TBSP)
2 TBSP mustard seeds
1 TBSP salt
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 TBSP finely chopped gingerroot
10 cups finely chopped pitted plums

canning plum sauce, dry ingredients

In a large stainless steel saucepan combine brown sugar, granulated sugar, onion, chili pepper (I use red pepper flakes because I am severely allergic to chili peppers. If one is cut open around me I cannot breathe.) mustard seeds, salt, garlic and gingerroot.

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Add the cider vinegar. Cook over med-high heat.

canning plum sauce, cooking method

Let the mixture come to a boil. Add the plums and return to a boil. Lower the heat and let the mixture cook until it thickens and becomes syrupy.

It will take about 2 hours or more. I just let it simmer until it’s to a consistency I like.

While the mixture is cooking get your canner and jars ready. The jars need to be hot when the plum sauce is poured into them. The book indicates that the recipe should make 4 pints but I’ve always ended up with more than that. This time I made one and a half recipes and I ended up with 7 1/2 pints.

Ladle the hot sauce into the hot jars leaving 1/2″ headspace.  Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace.  Wipe rim and center lid on jar. Screw on band to fingertip tight.

Place jars in canner making sure they are covered with at least 2″ of water. Bring to a boil and process 20 minutes (adjust for altitude – I add 5 minutes to my processing time.)

Remove from heat, wait 5 minutes and remove jars from canner.


It takes on a rich, dark color and it smells like heaven when it’s cooking down. And when you use it!

A Tip for You:

I would like to share a tip I have learned with all of the canning I do. Especially with recipes like this that calls for many cups of a chopped fruit.

canning plum sauce, fruit chopping hack, kitchen hack

While I am chopping the fruit, as I measure each cup into the bowl I set aside a pit or some marker to let me know how many cups I have added.

canning plum sauce, chopping fruit, kitchen hack, fruit chopping hack, canning hack

Trust me, no matter if you are chopping 4 cups or 10 cups there will be a time where something distracts you and you will forget where you are in your cup count and you will have to pull everything out of the bowl and recount. If you have markers, you won’t forget!

For the Love of Plums

I hope if you have a surplus of plums you try this recipe. It’s even worth going out and buying some! It’s really delicious! I love having it for an easy meal like chicken in plum sauce that I can just pop in the oven or crockpot. This sauce is also delightful on pork, shrimp and scallops. I can just pull a jar out of my pantry, cook up some rice and I have an amazing meal ready to go in very little time. 

What is also wonderful about this recipe is how easy it is to adapt to other fruits. One year I was not able to get any plums so I substituted and made apricot sauce. It’s surprisingly very different from the plum sauce even though the ingredients are the same. The apricots are sweeter than the plums so it comes across as you would expect. Then I tried it with peaches and the peach sauce recipe was again completely different. You have to love that!


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