Monday, September 23, 2013

Asian Plum Sauce; Guest Blogger: Laurie Neal

It is hard to resist a rich Asian Plum sauce-it is easy to resist a plum sauce with a whole truckload of ingredients one can't pronounce.  Summer is here and fresh fruit is plentiful.  It is a wonderful time to make one's own plum sauce to enjoy on those soon to arrive winter nights.  Now, I, unlike the Happy Insomniac, am not vegan but she can jump in and add ideas for vegan dishes using the Plum sauce below.

About two years ago, I discovered a wonderful book, "Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving, 400 delicious and creative recipes for today".  Edited by Judi Kingry and Lauren Devine.  Copyright 2006.
In this book is a plethora of recipes for using fruit in ways other than the traditional canned fruit and jam.  I have such delicacies as "Bruschetta in a Jar" and "Orange Rhubarb Chutney" on my shelf using this great resource.

It is important to remember when canning, follow the directions closely and only make batches in the size called out.  Don't double or triple recipes, don't change the amounts of ingredients unless the recipe says you can change or substitute. These recipes are calculated to produce a product in a canned jar that is food safe i.e. will not make anyone very sick from consuming it. Make single recipes in multiple pots!

Freezing does not carry all the same safety issues as canning but not everything freezes well.  Luckily for us, Plum Sauce does!  So every August I gather my fragrant purple plums from the tree and cook it into the following sauce:

Plum Sauce 
makes about 4 pints
  • 2 cups of lightly packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped seeded green chili pepper, such as Anaheim, New Mexico green chili, poblano or jalapeno.
  • 2 tablespoons mustard seeds
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped gingerroot
  • 10 cups finely chopped pitted plums (finely chopped, careful not to puree)

1. In a large stainless steel saucepan combine the brown sugar, granulated sugar, vinegar, onion, chili pepper, mustards seeds, salt, garlic and ginerroot.  Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly.  Add plums and return to a boil.  Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring occasionally, until thick and syrupy, about 1-3/4 hours.

2. Meanwhile, prepare canner, jars and lids.

3. Ladle hot sauce into hot jars, leaving 1/2 inch (1 cm) head-space.  Remove air bubbles and adjust head-space, if necessary, by adding hot sauce. Wipe rim and Center lid on jar.  Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip-tight.

4. Place jars in canner, ensuring they are completely covered with water.  Bring to a boil and process for 20 minutes. Turn off heat, remove canner lid.  Wait 5 minutes, then remove jars, cool and store.

If any of this info on canning sounds like a foreign language - find this book, it is also a great textbook for learning canning.  Also, Google the USDA Home Canning guide online - another great resource, I have had my paper version for 20 years.  I check the online version every year for updates.

For freezing - pour sauce no deeper than 2 inches into a container.  Place in the refrigerator uncovered and allow it to cool. When cool, place in freezer containers in a batch size you will use, like 1 cup or 2 cups.  Put the lid on and place in the freezer. Try to use within 3 or 4 months for best flavor.

Now I use my plum sauce to cook ribs or pork roast but for the vegans and vegetarians in the crowd -? *Coming Soon! <3thehappyinsomniac*

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