Blackberry Winner + Plums in Honey

italian plums

I had such a wonderful time over the weekend in Seattle. I met so many amazing people, reunited with a dear old friend, taught a really fun canning class and saw my parents for the first time in nearly nine months. I have bunches of pictures from the weekend, and so expect a post in the next couple of days that will feature those photos, along with my thoughts about the first Canning Across American weekend (preview: it was a rousing success and I can’t wait for next year).

Before I start talking about plums, there’s a bit of giveaway business to wrap up. The blackberry jam goes to lucky number 13, which is the comment left by Linus (who is a web developer and pickle maker – nice combo). He also seems to be Philly-based, which means that I get to skip the post office this time around and see if I can’t hand deliver this particular jar.

Last week, before I left town, I made tentative plans to meet up with the Philadelphia half of Doris and Jilly Cook to take a Mood’s Farm field trip just a couple of hours after I returned from the trip. My parents thought this plan crazy, assuming I’d need the rest of the day to recover from the red-eye flight. Thanks to my exhaustion and an innate ability to sleep just about anywhere, I landed feeling fairly refreshed and ready to take on an afternoon of fruit picking.

whole plums in jars

The sheer abundance at the farmstand merely hinted at the bounty we’d encounter in the fields. The peach trees were hanging heavy with fruit and the raspberry canes were covered in the largest, most delicious berries I’ve met in about twenty years. We had plans to pick blackberries as well, but mid-picking decided that our containers would be better used for the raspberries.

When we headed back to the city, the station wagon carried nearly 100 pounds of fruits and vegetables. My personal haul included 2 1/2 pounds of raspberries (at $3.75 a pound, they were by far the most expensive item I’ve ever gotten at Mood’s), nearly 20 pounds of rosy peaches, two quarts of Gala apples (those are just for eating, I’ll get some fresh Granny Smith’s later in the season for apple sauce and butter) and four quarts each of Bartlett pears (for butter), Seckel pears (for canning whole and pickling) and Italian plums.

plums in jars with syrup

I haven’t tackled the pears yet, but last night I turned the raspberries into jam (stay tuned, I’ll have that recipe and giveaway up later in the week) and I canned four quarts of the plums in a honey syrup. Canning whole fruit like this couldn’t be easier, because beyond washing, the fruit needs no prepping (some recipes recommend piercing the skin with a sharp fork several times. I skipped it and the skins only barely cracked). You simply pack the raw, whole fruit as tightly as you can into your cleaned jars, pour the syrup in to cover, shake out the air bubbles and process. I tucked a cinnamon stick into each jar, but that’s as fancy as I got. The quarts process for 25 minutes in a boiling water bath and then you’re done.

So, if you have a glut of plums, this is a great way to handle them quickly and easily. When winter comes, you can eat them whole with yogurt or ice cream, make a cobbler with them, or even stew them down further and eat them over oatmeal. So, so good. Recipe after the jump.

Whole Plums Preserved in Honey Syrup


  • 1 1/2 cups of honey
  • 4 cups of water
  • enough plums to fill four quart jars (I used three of my four quarts)
  • 4 cinnamon sticks, a vanilla bean sliced into four pieces or four star anise bits


  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the honey and water and bring to a boil.
  2. Bring a canning pot or large stock pot to a boil. Put your lids into a small saucepan and bring to a simmer.
  3. Clean canning jars and pack the plums in as tightly as you can. Insert your cinnamon stick, vanilla bean or star anise. Fill jars with honey syrup, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace.
  4. Wipe rims to remove all traces of any spilled honey syrup, apply lids and tightened rings. Process in a boiling water canner for 25 minutes (starting time when the pot returns to a boil after the jars have been placed inside).
  5. When processing time is up, remove the jars to a cutting board or towel-lined countertop (as they cool and seal, they might spit out a bit of sticky syrup, so don’t let them cool on any surface that can’t handle that). Let the jars cool undisturbed for 24 hours.
  6. When jars are completely cool, remove the rings, check the seals and wipe the jars down to remove any sticky residue. Label and store in a cool, dark place for up to a year.

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80 Responses to Blackberry Winner + Plums in Honey

  1. 51
    Jeanette says:

    This recipe looks wonderful. Just wondering about the star anise… When you say “bits”, do you mean whole pods, with 8 “petals”, or just one piece of it? Yes, I’m new at this 🙂

  2. 52
    Jeanette says:

    How much of the star anise do you consider a “bit”. The whole pod or a section of it? Thanks.

    • 52.1
      Marisa says:

      I would just use a piece. Often enough, there are broken pieces in the spice container and so I pick those out and pop them into the jar.

  3. 53

    […] and Honey (Food in Jars) Marisa is on our newsletter almost every week – she has so many recipes and I love this one […]

  4. 54
    Lora says:

    Would these still hold up if you cut the plums in half? I have to ration my husband on canned fruit by using smaller jars, and it’s easier for him to travel with (truck driver). I’m thinking of using some half pint and pint jars as well as some quarts for the house.

  5. 55
    Danielle says:

    Hello, about to make this yummy recipe. No I didn’t read through the other questions and comments, but I wanted to make sure I have the correct processing time. I’m located at 4500 feet in elevation, would I still process for 25 minutes? Or add an extra 10 minutes? THANKS!

  6. 56
    Angela says:

    I have been doing several types of fruit (peaches, pears, plums) in a honey syrup but only 1 cup per 8 cups water. Is this safe? All the resources I find say you should only replace half the sugar with honey but I want to avoid it as much as possible. I wasn’t worried until I saw a post regarding maple syrup and the fact that it can change the ph, would honey do that as well?

  7. 57
    Jennifer says:

    I just opened a jar of these plums last night and OH MY GOODNESS! I was hard pressed to get any after my 2 year old ate one. He would have eaten the whole pint by himself! It really brightened up a snowy February day 🙂 I happened to find the Italian plums at the grocery store last summer and did take the time to cut them in half and pull the pit out, which didn’t take long and was probably accomplished while my little guy finished his dinner. SO SO GOOD!

  8. 58
    Jessica says:


    Can you use plums that have been frozen already? I have a plum tree in my backyard and just found about 10 lbs of plums I threw in the freezer at the end of the season.


    • 58.1
      Marisa says:

      Already frozen plums won’t work for this recipe because they won’t have the necessary structural integrity. You could make jam from the frozen plums, but if you tried to can them using this recipe, you’d end up with jars of pulp.

  9. 59
    Adrienne says:

    I made this recipe yesterday, but cut the plums in halves and quarters since I didn’t have enough jars to do the whole batch of whole plums. All the jars sealed but it looks like a lot of the liquid came out, and the fruit is all sort of floating at the top of the jar and not in the syrup in places. Should these jars go in the fridge, or is a little bit of this normal?

    • 59.1
      Susan Lockwood says:

      I made three quarts and processed them for 40minutes as I live at 7000 ft(Colorado Extension recommendation? The plums all burst even though I did put holes in them and I had a lot of siphoning. I let the jars set in the wter for 10minutes before removing them from the canner. The plums are floating and there is about a three inch space with no syrup. Should I just use them immediately. Could this be a matter of overprocessing? Beautiful organic plums. Sigh.

      • Marisa says:

        There’s always some splitting and siphoning with these plums, but it sounds like you had more than is normal/desired. It’s probably part the long processing time and also, there may have been some trapped air bubbles that also led to the liquid loss.

  10. 60
    Ann Moses says:

    Just put up 4 quarts of plums using the syrup but used lemon peel, whole cloves and cinnamon instead of the star anise or cinnamon/vanilla bean. I noticed that even with packing in my plums pretty tightly, I needed to quickly make up another half batch of syrup becuase it takes about 2 cups per quart jar. Looking forward to tasting them!

  11. 61
    Randi says:

    Could I sub other fruit here? Thinking peaches or nectarines?

    • 61.1
      Marisa says:

      You can’t can other fruits whole like I did here. It’s just a different process. You can use the same honey syrup, but you’d need to peel the peaches, and can either stone fruit in segments.

  12. 62
    Sarah b says:

    So, is it ok to do a lighter syrup with honey? Say the 1 cup:8 cups water suggested above?

  13. 63

    […] The Food In Jars Mastery Challenge for May is Cold Pack Canning – I took a break last month, but I definitely need to get back in the game and preserve something this month. Maybe some of these plums in honey? […]

  14. 64
    Eithne says:

    What else can I do with plums ,besides jam or canning

  15. 65
    Grace says:

    Are you able to halve the plums?

  16. 66
    Halley says:

    I don’t have access to Italian plums and the ones in the grocery store were a little large for canning whole. I cut the plums and proceeded with the recipe, but the syrup immediately out of the water bath was cloudy. Is this normal/safe to eat?


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