Food on Friday: Plum failed

So, because tomorrow is National Can-It-Forward Day, I was all ready to share the plum sauce from the plums a friend gave me. Well, that didn’t really work out as hoped. But first, National Can-It-Forward Day is sponsored by the good folks at Ball jars. As it happens, later this month I’ll be visiting the home of Ball (beautiful Muncie, Indiana) but sadly I will be too late for the canning-related shenanigans planned for Saturday, including an intriguing-sounding automatic jam and jelly maker machine. According to the website, there will be live streaming web video of the canning demos, so if your Saturday isn’t booked yet check it out.

Now, let me tell you about the fail. A friend has plum trees in her yard, and she gave me a bag of these cute baby-fist-sized plums. I thought I’d try out the Chinese Plum Sauce recipe from Sherri Brooks Vinton’s Put ‘Em Up, which I reviewed last Friday. The recipe calls for pitted and chopped plums to start, but since mine were so small I figured pitting would be an exercise in endless frustration. So I decided to cook them down a little like making cranberry sauce, then run them through the food mill and then do the remaining steps. So far so good until I used the food mill, and nothing wanted to go through. I don’t know if there was just too high a ratio of pit and skin, or I missed something with my setup, but I tried a strainer and my hands and the whole thing was just a mess and I pitched it. (If only I had a pig, it would have had the best slop ever.)

Below is the recipe for those of you who have ordinary-sized plums or more patience and skill than I did.

Chinese Plum Sauce
2 pounds plums, pitted and chopped
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
2 garlic cloves
1 star anise

Combine all ingredients in a large nonreactive pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 20 – 30 minutes until thickened. Fish out the star anise and puree with a stick blender. Refrigerate until use, or can with a water bath for longer storage.


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