It never would have occurred to me to pickle plums, but my friend Christina convinced me that pickled fruit was both delicious and indispensable. Hence, pickled plums. I made a couple of jars about a month ago and have been waiting until now so that I could taste them before sharing the recipe with all of you. I must confess: I’m underwhelmed. If you really like pickled fruit, you’ll like this—but they don’t necessarily taste like plums. Instead, they taste like vinegar, cinnamon, allspice, and cloves. If this appeals to you, go for it! And if not, do something else with your plums, because this won’t make you happy.
(adapted from Linda Ziedrich’s Joy of Pickling)
3 pounds Italian plums
2 3/4 c. cider vinegar
2 c. sugar
2 small cinnamon sticks
2 dried chile peppers
4 whole cloves
12 allspice berries
1) Make a syrup from the vinegar and sugar over a medium flame. Prick the plums with a fork or needle to keep them from bursting. Add the plums to the syrup and cook them until they’re heated through.
2) Meanwhile, bring a water bath to a boil and sterilize 2 pint jars; heat up two lids.
3) Take the jars out of the hot water and add the cinnamon stick, 1 pepper, 2 cloves, and 6 allspice berries to each jar. Add the plums. Cover them with syrup, leaving 1/2″ head space.
4) Now, you have a choice. Ziedrich says you can just add the hot lids, screw on the lids, and hope for the best. This makes me nervous, so I gave my jars a quick (~5 minutes) dip in a boiling water bath to ensure a good seal. If you have a few extra plums, just stick them in the refrigerator and forget about them for at least a month.
So, dear readers, I’m curious. Have you tried pickling fruit before? What am I missing?