Baby tomatoes

Baby tomatoes

Friday, August 15, 2014

Canning Cookbook- Chinatown Plum Sauce

Ohhhhhhh I have been waiting a year to be able to make this sauce! Ever since hitting the jackpot- finally, after 2 years of searching the Iowa countryside, I finally found wild plums last summer. So now that I know where all the trees are, I just needed to get through winter, spring and summer again and voila! Plums! I have been wanting to make an Asian plum sauce. Why a plum sauce? Iowa's native wild plums ripen to a gorgeous ruby red and become juicy and sweet like other plums but they are TINY- and that makes it hard to do much with them other than sauces and jams. I have a huge stockpile of jam already so, plum sauce it is!

Just the other day they were green!!
I love learning new techniques and new styles of cooking and Asian foods is definitely a weak spot. Maybe the perfect plum sauce will inspire me to explore Asian recipes and sharpen up my skills! Anyway, let's round up some plums and make this sauce. I am using Iowa wild plums but you can use any plum you like, you just need 10 cups pitted and chopped. Peel the plums if you like, I didn't- they break down well in cooking. You will need-
  • 10 cups chopped, pitted plums, peeled if desired
  • 2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup regular sugar
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 medium onion, finely minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 2 tb finely minced/shredded gingerroot or 1 tb dried ground
  • 3 tb crushed red pepper
  • 1 tb salt
In crockpot, combine plums with all other ingredients. Cover and set to high. When boiling, turn heat to low and cook several hours until thickened. 

Since it's VERY early in the wild plum season, I had to
supplement with store bought plums, cut up.
To get the perfect smooth sauce, buzz in a blender or food processor for a few seconds. Reheat if necessary.

Red onion, freshly garlic and spicy ginger make the sauce pop!
Ladle hot sauce into half pint or pint jars leaving half inch headspace. Wipe rim, fix lids and rings. Process in boiling water bath for ten minutes. Remove and cool, check for seals after about 12 hours.

This sauce makes an awesome dipping sauce for egg rolls or a great base for a stir fry sauce. You can tame the heat by using a little less crushed red pepper if you like. It's also great for tossing with chicken wings for a Asian take on wings. Depending on the plums you choose you will get a beautiful sauce anywhere from golden yellow to deep purple. 

Hurry up and ripen guys!! I have plans for you!
This recipe is safe for home canning- it's very similar to the recipe featured by Bernardin in Canada. The only differences are in seasonings, the acid is still in there. Safety should always be on the forefront of your mind as a home canner. The internet can be a scary place when it comes to canning recipes with a lot of people touting outdated and unsafe methods. Please check a reputable source before trying a recipe if you're not sure if it's safe.

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