Thursday, July 31, 2014

Honey Ginger Plum Sauce

Pot of Plum Sauce before Cooking
Sweet Plum Sauce Before Cooking

Recipe by Robin

Inspired by my successful Spicy Plum Sauce, I wanted to try making a sweeter, milder plum sauce. Like the spicy sauce, this sauce contains garlic, ginger, and Chinese Five Spice. Adding honey and sugar and leaving out the crushed chilies makes the difference. Note that ginger still adds a noticeable kick, and you can adjust the amount to anywhere between strictly sweet to downright zingy. Since commercial plum sauce is made with salted plums, you can stock a trio of salty-spicy-sweet plum sauces in the pantry to prepare for any culinary occasion or mood.

Paper Towel and Fingers Wiping Jar Threads
Wipe Jar with Damp Cloth Before Adding Lid
Plum sauces are traditionally made with yellow plums to make a golden color that combines well with other ingredients without looking dull and dark. I used Mirabelle plums because that’s what I have in the yard. Any yellow plum will work. Green gage plums, a light greenish color true to their name, are a current trend in plum sauces. If you don’t mind a darker color, and especially if you have a tree producing lots of purple plums, it’s worthwhile to try them out in this sauce.

As with the Spicy Plum Sauce, the flavor of this sauce can be adjusted in the middle or at the end of the cooking time. Please leave us a comment if you have any suggestions about making plum sauce. Ideas about plum varieties and sauce spicing welcome!

Yellow plums, tamari, vinegar, honey, sugar, and spices
Simple Ingredients Combine Beautifully
Honey Ginger Plum Sauce
makes 5 half-pint jars

4 lbs. Mirabelle or other yellow plums
1 cup honey
¾ cup sugar
¾ cup + 2 tbsp. rice vinegar
¼ cup soy sauce
1 cup finely diced red onion
2 – 3 cloves garlic (depending upon size)
½ - 1½ tbsp. grated ginger (depending upon desired zippiness)
1¼ tsp. Chinese Five Spice powder
1 tbsp. cornstarch
1 tbsp. water

Clean and sterilize canning jars. Place lids and rings in bowl and cover with hot water. Set aside. Preheat a canning pot of water by bringing it to a boil, then turning off heat.

Wash, pit, and roughly chop plums. Add to large, deep saucepan. Stir in soy sauce, vinegar, honey, and sugar and stir to dissolve. Stir in onion, garlic, ginger, and Chinese Five Spice powder.

Puree mixture thoroughly with immersion blender.

Heat to boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Continue cooking on high, stirring constantly, for 2 – 3 minutes to allow the fruit to foam up (release air). Turn heat down to a fast simmer (medium on my stove).

Simmer mixture, stirring every 5 minutes. When sauce is reduced by 1/3 (about 45 minutes), remove from heat.

Combine cornstarch with water until well mixed. Stir sauce with wooden spoon while adding cornstarch mixture in a small, steady stream.

Heat sauce over high, stirring constantly, until it comes to a boil. Reduce heat to medium high, and continue cooking, stirring constantly, until sauce is glossy and thickened, about 3 – 4 minutes.

Pour sauce into prepared canning jar using a canning funnel and 1-cup measure or other cup with spout. Fill to ½ inch from jar top. Wipe top of jar and threads with damp cloth. Remove lid from water with magnetic lid lifter, shake off water, and put onto jar. Add ring, and tighten just slightly. Air needs to escape the seal during processing. Repeat with other jars, using a high heat spoonula to scrape out the maximum amount of sauce from the pot and funnel.

Place jars in canning pot rack, taking care not to tilt them. Lower rack into water bath and bring to 210 degrees F, using a two-piece digital thermometer. Adjust heat to keep temperature consistent, and/or monitor pot to avoid sauce boiling out of the jars. Process for 10 minutes at 210 degrees F. Remove pot from heat and let cool 5 minutes.

Remove jars from water bath using a jar lifter and oven mit, being careful not to tilt. Tighten rings—a jar wrench helps with this. Set jars on kitchen towel—never directly on cold surface. Allow to cool and set up overnight, or for several hours.

Jars in Canning Pot with bubbles
Keep Lids Loose so Air Bubbles Escape Jars

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