2013 Food Preservation Season: Cherry Plum Sauce

August 25, 2013 · 4 comments

cherry plum sauce // Wayward Spark

Okay, I’m about to try something a little different on this here blog for the next few weeks. I’m headed into my most intense food-preservation period of the year, and such activities will be taking up a lot of my life, limiting both my doing-other-interesting-stuff time and my blogging time. Sooo…I’m gonna just offer you some shorter (I hope), more frequent (I hope) posts about my canning/pickling/drying/freezing/collecting activities. I was going to give myself some kind of crazy goal like 30 posts in 30 days (like Mae and her rad collages), but then I remembered that my kids are starting preschool and kindergarten next week, and I have a bunch of Red Onion Woodworks stuff to catch up on, so I’m not being too overly ambitious at the get go. I’ll try to give you recipes when I can, though they’ll often be links or loose suggestions. I’ll try to give you a couple photos per post, but you’re not going to get a full photo tutorial. 

I’ll also pop in from time to time with something not strictly food preservationist (The Coburg Antique Fair is Sunday, September 8 for anyone who wanted a reminder), but mostly you’re going to see food here until early October or so.

I know I’m not the only one right in the thick of things these days, so I’d also like to invite you to share links to food preservation activities from your own blogs or links to recipes you’re following or you’d like to try on other blogs or web spaces. (I really enjoyed reading through the links on my friend Lisa’s blog the other day including a shout out to my naan recipe.) May you have a bountiful harvest and the energy to keep up with it!

cherry plums // Wayward Spark

What: Cherry Plum Jam/Sauce

Main ingredients and where I got them: First off, I’d like to clarify that I used “cherry plums” NOT cherries + plums. Cherry plums are about an inch in diameter, squishy (as opposed to meaty like Italian prune plums), and they have a tart skin on them. I picked a bunch off a few trees in my parents’ yard and parents’ neighbor’s yard. The honey came from our bees.

How much: I used up nearly two gallons of fruit in two batches. The first batch yielded a little over 6 cups, and the second was about 10 cups.


cherry plums, rinsed
lemon juice

Cook the cherry plums in a non-reactive pot on low heat until they explode. Dump the juicy fruit into a sieve over a bowl, and squish it around a little. Pick out all the pits.  Return the juice and the skins to the pot. Add about 1/4 cup of lemon juice for every 4 cups of fruit/juice. Add honey to taste. Cook it down for a while. If you want it thicker and more jam-like, use the frozen-plate, “nudge” test.

Scoop or funnel it into sterilized jars. Wipe the rims of the jars, and screw on canning lids until finger-tight. At this point, you can store jars in the refrigerator, or process them in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes if you want them to be shelf stable.

Other Comments: 

This sweet-tart stuff is great on ice cream, chocolate cake, or (for the healthy crowd) plain yogurt. Mine was a little too runny to spread on a peanut butter sandwich, but that would certainly taste good.

I think cooking the plums first and then picking out the pits is easier and less wasteful than hand pitting them, but be sure to include the skins because they have a lot of flavor.

I definitely prefer this concoction on the tart side, so don’t be too generous when adding the sweetener.

David Lebovitz has a funny story about collecting wild plums that look pretty similar to mine.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

NM September 3, 2013 at 12:43 pm

Just found your blog, and am enjoying the preserving posts, being in the thick of same, myself. If you still have those plum pits, using them up might appeal to that frugal instinct; I’ve been hugely enjoying making homemade almond extract.
Here’s a link on the subject of safely using stone fruit pits in general: http://bravetart.com/blog/ThePits


Camille September 4, 2013 at 7:52 am

Stella, aka The Brave Tart, is a genius. I love her recipes and commentary in general, but I hadn’t seen this post. Thanks for the link!


Monica July 2, 2015 at 1:50 pm

I own a Montessori school in Napa. We are also in the middle of a canning explosion. We had a wine box full of cherry plum donated.

We are making fruit leathers from it. we added raspberries as well.

this weekend I am canning peaches, raspberries and strawberries for spread.



Lorna Alsip July 19, 2016 at 9:10 am

I’m a newbie but am about to attempt my first cherry plum sauce as we have 2 tree’s bursting at the moment. My question is do you add water when initially cooking down the cherry plums until they burst? I also wonder if I should use a stainless steel pot or would a cast iron pot be better? Help!


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