PLUMS.. let’s get pickled, shall we?

20 February, 2023

Summer is when we think of fruit. Trees are laden. We reckon that’s the best time to get to the bounty from the bough, and to get it into the preserving bottle or jam jars. Here’s a ripper recipe from Jedi cook Stephanie Alexander for blood plums. Oh my, the richness of blood plums, and how they can shine when pickled! John Carruthers posts Stephanie’s classic.

Pickled plums

I find the blood plum varieties best for these pickles as they hold their shape well. They can be served whole or sliced. They are perfect with cold lamb or, when segmented, as part of an antipasto platter.

750g sugar

450ml white wine vinegar

1 small cinnamon stick

6 cloves

2 small fresh red chillies

1 tspn allspice

6 cardamon pods

1.5kg blood plums; seeds and stems removed

Bring all ingredients, except plums, to a boil in a preserving pan, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Simmer for 5 minutes. Gently add fruit and cook until just tender (test with a fine skewer or a needle). This may only take 5 minutes, so do not go too far away. Remove fruit and pack into sterilised, hot, dry jars. Boil syrup for 5 minutes then pour over fruit, ensuring it is covered. Seal and leave for a month before using.

John’s note: Ume plums are a classic preserve in rustic Japanese cooking. But who says we can’t pinch hit occasionally with blood? This pickled plum’s a ripper to accompany Panko pork cutlet and steamed Japanese rice. Perfect comfort food for Friday night in! Mmmmmm…