I’m so excited about this recipe today, because plums! I adore a good sweet plum almost as much as I do a juicy peach, but plums are considerably more difficult to find around here. In the four and a half years we’ve lived in Ithaca, I’ve only found local organic plums in a large enough quantity to preserve once. Very few farms have them available for U-Pick (I can think of one), and they can be a bit pricey at the Farmers’ Market to buy more than a few for fresh eating. So this summer, we may or may not have caved and ordered a ton of organic plums from the local wholeshare group. They were totally worth it.
I’ve already made up a few batches of jam this year – cherry, strawberry and blueberry – so while I made a small batch of plum jam, I decided that I needed to do something else with my remaining six pounds of black plums. After a little investigating, I confirmed that you can, in fact, preserve plum slices in the same way that you would peach slices. Just cover them with a medium syrup and process in a hot water bath canner. Super easy, and a nice way to get in a serving of fruit come winter.
We couldn’t resist eating a few of the plums fresh, and on first bite, I remarked on their subtle vanilla flavor. So I slid half a vanilla bean into each jar before packing the jars full of fruit. Over time, the vanilla will infuse into the syrup and fruit, enhancing the natural plum flavor. Can’t wait to pop one of these jars open this winter when I’m missing all the flavors of summer!
Vanilla bean pods infuse these plum slices, enhancing their natural flavor. If you'd like to mix it up, or don't have vanilla beans on hand, try using a small cinnamon stick in each jar instead.
These plum slices are best straight out of the jar, but they would also be fabulous over ice cream or waffles.
- 6 pounds black plums
- 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 5 cups water
- 3 vanilla beans, cut in half crosswise
- Prepare for canning. Wash the jars with hot, soapy water. Put the jars in the canning pot and cover with hot water. Heat over high heat to keep the jars hot. Place the flat lids in a heat-proof bowl.
- Cut the plums in half along the seam line and remove the pit. Slice each half into three equal slices.
- Stir the sugar and water together in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally.
- Move some of the boiling water from the canning pot into the heat-proof bowl containing the lids. Line the hot jars up on a folded towel.
- Slip 1/2 a vanilla bean into each jar. Pack the plums into the jars, leaving just over 1/2" of headspace at the top. Pour hot syrup over the plums to leave 1/2" headspace.
- Use a plastic/wooden chopstick or a thin spatula to remove any air bubbles from around the edges of the jar. If necessary, add more syrup to bring the headspace back to 1/2".
- Use a clean towel to wipe any syrup off the rims, then top each jar with a lid and a tightened ring. Place the jars back in the canning pot and make sure they are covered by at least 1 inch of water. Bring to a boil and process for 20 minutes. Place the jars on a folded towel and allow to sit, undisturbed, for 24 hours. Check the seals of the lids after 1 hour. If a seal has not formed, refrigerate the jar immediately.