Pickled Plums

Dusky, ripe, juicy plums....

Dusky, ripe, juicy plums....


I am sure that many of you are aware of Tastespotting, a site that serves to display pictures submitted by other websites; and these are not just ANY pictures–these are pictures selected to meet a certain aesthetic, and they are absolutely beautiful. For those of you not familiar with this resource, you can link with it here:   Tastespotting


Anyway, on to the plums….this being the season for plums and all, the pictures on Tastespotting that featured recipes using this fruit continued to catch my eye, and I finally gave in to two items in particular:  Sweet and Sour Plums with Vanilla and Bay Leaf (a kind of pickled plum) and Brown Butter Plum Cake. (Tastespotting has a search tool–enter the word “plum” and you should be able to find pictures of each of these.)  I picked up a half bushel of the lovelies from our local fruit vendor (much more cost effective in bulk!) and carried them home to be transformed:  First, the sweet and sour plums…


Well, I found I needed my daughter’s help with this recipe, because when I clicked on the picture, it took me to a lovely website, Hedonistin Blogspot, but all was in German. Having had French in school, I can usually wrangle some degree of meaning from French and even Spanish language texts, but German is beyond me. Fortunately, my daughter spent her senior year of high school Germany and is proficient enough in the language that she was able to help me out with this. As a result, I now have two gallons of these plums chilling nicely in my refrigerator, the result of putting together four batches over the last two days. They are simple to put together, absolutely delicious, with a nice spicy bite from the vinegar and the grated fresh ginger in the syrup. We had some with vanilla ice cream, and the combination was delicious.


Here, with Christina’s help, is the recipe as translated from the Hedonistin site:






1.5kg  little plums ripe, but firm (3.25 lbs–I used prune plums)

750 ml vinegar (I’m guessing white distilled)

250 g. sugar ( about 9 oz., a little over a cup)

1 vanilla bean, split and seeded (if you have no vanilla bean, add a little vanilla to the syrup before pouring over plums at the end

3-4 laurel leaves (bay leaves), fresh (I only had the dried version)

1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, finely grated

Have two quart jars or four pint jars clean and sterilized, with either plastic lids or rings and lids if you prefer. These can be stored in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 months; no instructions were given for sealing for longer storage.

Simmer the vinegar with the sugar and spices in an enameled or stainless steel pan (they suggest putting the ginger bay leaves in a tea-ball  or infuser, but I put them directly in the syrup).  Wash and dry the plums, and then pierce the skin all around with the point of a paring knife (5 or 6 pokes seemed to do it).

Lay the plums next to each other evenly in the vinegar- the fruit shouldn’t lay over each other, and poach the plums for a few minutes, making sure that the skins don’t burst (the skins will burst a little bit, but the slower the simmer, the less they burst). Get them out with a slotted spoon, drain well, and put into a jar.  When all the plums are cooked, continue to cook the liquid for 10 minutes (reduce). 

Pour the vinegar reduction over the plums making sure they are completely covered, and they should keep for 3-4months in the fridge. I kept the bay leaves and vanilla beans in the jars as well…I like the way it looks, and I think it should only help the flavor intensify. We’ll see!  One of these jars will be going to Christina when we visit at Thanksgiving–it’s the least I can do for my very own translator!

Tomorrow I will share with you the my version of the recipe for Brown Butter Plum Cake…tonight, I will just eat some!


  1. says

    Aren’t daughters great?! Translating would be good, but I’m more excited for the slave labor I can expect from Laine in the years to come, dishes, floors, toilets…

    Tastespotting it great, isn’t it? Glad you found some Plum Recipes you like and I can’t wait for that cake!

  2. says

    I have to agree about daughters! Since Christina is living in her own nest now, the days of slave labor are over and gone…she may even miss those days, given that I was normally a fairly benevolent despot.

    I’ll try to be sure and have that cake recipe up for you tomorrow.

    Peace, Valerie

  3. says

    TWO gallons of this? Goodness, you really need to start your own canning company! Now that you have your daughters to help you, it could be a family business.

    This looks so delicious, I have never had canned plums before. I’m gonna go buy a plum tree next week and have a bounty for next year! You always inspire me so much!!!

  4. says

    Thanks so much for your kind words! i really like canned plums prepared this way–the ginger gives them a real zing! Good luck with the plum tree–wish we had to ability to grow them where we are, but I will just have to settle for all the wild berries and apples around here.

  5. Pinky says

    If you install Google Chrome as your browser it will translate for you. It’s free and great for recipes, though the translated narrative parts can be really funny sometimes.

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