I’m a man who’s a fan of things to can, a preserve practitioner ready to bottle up summer sweet things at a moment’s notice or as availability allows. So when the folks at the SweetPreservation.com asked me to be a CANbassador, delivering a case of succulent Washington state plums, peaches and nectarines along with the question, “What can you do with these?” my brain simmered like a stock pot of steaming chutney.
After scorching my cerebral resources, I turned to my larder of dogeared cookbooks and found this enticing recipe from the River Cottage Handbook No. 2: Preserves (by Pam Corbin): Spiced Brandy Plums. Spices, liquor, and fruit, what’s not to like? Of course, I had to add a couple of other things just for good measure. (Monotype print above by Vashon artist Brian Fisher)RECIPE: Spiced Brandy Plums
Makes 5 pint jars
- 2-3 pounds of European plums (like Italian prune, Imperial Epineuse, Green Gage, etc.)
- 1 cup of honey
- 2 cups of water
- 1 orange, zest and juice
- 1/2 cup of brandy
- 5 cinnamon sticks
- 5 star anise
- 1″ knob of ginger root, sliced (optional)
- 15 cloves (optional)
- Add honey to water and heat until it dissolves and is a uniform liquid
- Add orange juice, orange zest and brandy to solution
- Remove from heat and set aside.
- Wash and halve plums, remove pits and stems
- Place plums sliced side down in the jars, overlapping
- Fill jar with plums up to 1″ from top
- Add 1 cinnamon stick, 1 star anise, 1 ginger slice and 3 cloves to each jar
- Pour warm syrup over fruit leaving 1″ head space
- Gently press on plums to remove air bubbles
- Seal and process in a water bath for 20 minutes, gentle simmer
- Instructions on water bath canning.
In the cold of winter when the days are dark and the fireplace flickers brightly, I’ll enjoy this nightcap in a bowl. Nothing like a little sweetness and brandy to spice up a fellow’s dreams and state of hibernation.
Enjoy, and don’t forget to visit, SweetPreservation.com for more canning ideas.