Right now, my kitchen looks like a pickle factory and I'm up to my elbows in sugar, vinegar and basins of fruits and vegetables waiting to be preserved...not to mention my fingernails look less than hygienic and feminine from rooting around in the garden...
...but there is nothing like sitting at your table on a blustery winter morning, watching snow blow past the window while you tuck into a jar of fruit preserved at the height of summer freshness! For me, all of the work that goes into winter stashes of canned goods is totally worth it on those days when all you can get from the store is imported fruit that has been picked green and tastes like cardboard!!
To make these plums, you will need 2 small baskets of plums (I used Italian blue plums), canning jars with lids, water and granulated sugar.
Wash and remove stems from the plums, then wash and sterilize the canning jars you will be using. (Directions on how to sterilize your jars are in my post on how to can using the hot water bath method)
...cut them in half and remove the pit (you can also leave them whole if you wish, but pierce the skin on either side of the plum to eliminate splitting).
Once all of the plums have been halved, set them aside while you make your preserving syrup.
The syrup that I use for preserving these plums is considered a "light syrup"...feel free to add more sugar if you prefer a heavier syrup for canned fruit)...In a large pot, add 2 cups of granulated sugar,
...and 6 cups of water. Bring mixture to a boil over high heat.
While the syrup is heating up to a boil, fill each jar with plums, packing them fairly snug (the fruit will shrink a bit in the syrup as they sit in the jars).
Once the syrup has reached a full rolling boil, turn down heat and carefully ladle into the jars of plums...
Before the jar is completely full of syrup, run a butter knife down the side, in between the fruit and the jar...this helps tamp the fruit down which will eliminate air pockets and allow more syrup in the jar. If there is too much settling of the fruit after the bottle has been sealed, there will not be enough syrup, creating too much headspace at the top of the jar, which could cause your fruit to spoil.
Continue to ladle in hot syrup until there is about a 1/2 headspace at the top of the jar (* headspace is the empty space between the contents and the top of the jar)...wipe the rim of the jar with a clean cloth to clean off any possible drops of syrup and seal with lids finger tight.
Continue this process until all jars are filled and sealed. Process in a hot water bath for 20 minutes for pints, 25 minutes for quarts. * Directions on how to use the hot water bath method of canning
Store bottles of plums in a cool dark place. Enjoy a small dish of plums with your breakfast, with a biscuit and wedge of cheese for a quick lunch, with yogurt or simply by themselves as a nice light dessert!
2 small baskets of Italian prune plums (approx. 4 quarts)
6 cups of water
2 cups of granulated sugar
6, 500 ml. (pint) jars with lid inserts and screw bands
1. Wash and sterilize your jars.
2. Wash and remove stems from plums and cut in half...remove pits and pack into the canning jars.
3. In a large pot, combine sugar and water, bring to a boil and ladle syrup into jars of plums to within a 1/2 inch head space.
4. Wipe rim of jar, then seal...process in a hot water bath for 20 minutes for pints and 25 minutes for quarts.
* makes 6 (500 ml.) jars of plums