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

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  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.
http://foodinjars.com/2009/09/blackberry-winner-plums-in-honey/

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80 Responses to Blackberry Winner + Plums in Honey

  1. 1
    Adrienne says:

    Okay, that IS easy. And now I can’t wait for this weekend – I have plans to hit a farmstand/u-pick with my mom on Sunday, and I fully intend to come back with heaps of berries and plums 🙂

  2. 2
    Amelia says:

    Canned this weekend. Had a wonderful time. I canned steak and burger sauce yesterday that used plums. I made raspberry jam only with berries and sugar. It gelled very well. I’m glad you enjoyed your trip. Oh, our fruitstand/pick your own is always amazed at the amount we can around here. I have comments like, “I know where I will be this winter”. After seeing all the peaches I will be putting up. If I can do it anyone can do it! 🙂

  3. 3
    Birdie says:

    I’m so sad I didn’t get to go on that picking trip with you. My mouth is watering for some raspberries, plums and peaches!

  4. 4
    Lauren says:

    Thank you for the great class on Sunday. I’m super excited to start canning. You took all the fear out of me!

  5. 5
    Fran says:

    I was contemplating the fact that I don’t have to go to work on Friday and on of the thoughts that drifted through my mind was hey – maybe I should see what they’re picking at Mood’s…

    You have totally hooked me.

  6. 6
    sharon says:

    Hi I was wondering if you have tried this method with peaches? Or if you have any suggestions for spiced peaches using the whole fruit? So glad I discovered your blog! I have a mature fig tree and have been making fig jam or the past three weeks but am ready to move on to peaches soon and would love to hear if you have any tried and true favorites. Thanks!

    • 6.1
      Basia Halik says:

      We cannot get figs in this part of the country, would you consider selling me some of our fig jam? I would love to have some for my Christmas recipes.

  7. 7

    Such a fabulous day in the fields! Never has my car smelled so good. I dehydrated half the plums and will try this with the other half. Please do tell how you canned those Seckel pears…

  8. 8
    Marisa says:

    Adrienne, it really is easy. When you shop for your plums, remember that the smaller ones work the best for something like this, as they’re easier to fit in the jar.

    Amelia, people always say the same thing to me. When people hear that I can the way I do, they also say, “I know where I’m coming during the next power outage.”

    Sharon, I haven’t tried this exact method with peaches, but I have done peach halves in a regular sugar syrup a couple of times this summer to good result. They get halved, peeled and packed cut-side down into pint jars. Top with a honey or sugar syrup (google “sugar syrup for canning” for a recipe), add lids and process. You can also add bits of flavor enhancers, just like in this recipe.

    Doris, I haven’t done anything with the Seckel pears yet, but I’m planning on tackling them tonight. I found a pickle recipe for them that sounds intriguing…

  9. 9
    Amy says:

    This past weekend I canned the Sugar Plums in Syrup from the CAA website – adding vanilla & cinnamon to the syrup. Next year I’ll have to try the honey syrup instead. Growing up, one of my favorite parts of canned plums was the lemonade my mom would make with the syrup from the jars.

    While I canned solo this year, I plan to host a party next summer – so many friends have commented that they would like to learn after seeing my blog & pictures of the results.

  10. 10
    Sam@BingeNYC says:

    oh my GAWD. I can’t even imagine how incredible these would taste on a dreary slushy winter day. Total swoon.

  11. 11
    Deanne Upchurch says:

    Wouldn’t the honey syrup work on other fruits besides plums?

    These were beautiful, by the way.

  12. 12
    molly says:

    Those plums look a.w.e..s.o.m.e
    I can almost taste them on top of some pound cake come January. Thanks for the great, quick lesson in whole-fruit canning!

  13. 13

    […] in a few weeks. So, when I got back home, I was jonesing for a canning project or two. So I canned plums in a honey syrup and made raspberry […]

  14. 14
    Emily says:

    This looks delicious! We have a plum tree in our backyard and I have been looking for a quick way to can them. My question is – What about the pits? Can I remove them or would this ruin the process some how? I was thinking it would be nice to have them already pitted for use in cobblers and such during the winter. Thanks!

  15. 15
    Aviva says:

    Never done pluma- maybe a new project for next week!

  16. 16
    Sue says:

    I just made a batch. One of the jars didn’t seal, so I opened it. They taste just like Christmas! They are so good!

    How to you keep the color? I used Italian plums and the color faded and there was some fruit shrinkage. They don’t look so good, but OMG they are wonderful!

    How does chlorine affect the canning process? I can taste the chlorine in our water and am wondering if

  17. 17
    Sue says:

    (sorry, I hit send too soon!) the chlorine affects the fruit in the canning process.

  18. 18
    Adrienne says:

    So, I did this last night. I did remove air bubbles before I processed these, but after processing there are huge air gaps at the top. The seal formed, but a couple of plums are not immersed in honey. Do I need to fridge this or will they be ok?

  19. 19
    Tree says:

    Okay so I have a glut of plums and more on the way from my MIL. I had planned to make some jams, and chutney and the like, but really need half pint jars (which BTW are not cheap) I do have quart and pint jars and I like the look (and ease) of this recipe. My question is what do you do with them, eat them later? Can I use the honey syrup for a later purpose as well?
    Just curiouse. I am probably going to be doing this this weekend, and then will find a use for them later.

    • 19.1
      Marisa says:

      Tree, you can definitely use the honey syrup later. You could cook it down into more of a syrup and stir it into tea, use it to sweeten yogurt or drizzle it on top of pancakes.

      As far as the plums go, you can slice them up and eat them on top of a slice of cake, waffles, yogurt, ice cream or french toast. You can cook them into a dimple cake like this one: http://smittenkitchen.com/2008/08/dimply-plum-cake/. You can cook them down into a compote. You can spear them out of the jars and eat them standing over the sink. They are versatile and delicious!

  20. 20
    Linus says:

    Oh wow I got the blackberry jam today (hand delivered by Marisa’s lovely hubby-to-be)! I think the jam and I are going to be spending some quality time together tonight. THANKS!!

  21. 21
    Chelsea says:

    Adrienne, the same thing happened to me. I made these last night, and the jars were all full when I took them out of the water bath. I peeked at the jars this morning, and the water level in all of them is one to two inches below the rim of the jar. They were sputtering a little last night, but I thought that was normal, so I didn’t worry to much. This is mt first canning experience:

    1. What did I do wrong?
    2. Can I refrigerate the fruit, or is this a total loss?

    Thank you.

  22. 22
    Deena says:

    I just came across a friend with an Italian Prune Plum tree. Do you know if these are good for jam as well? They don’t seem quite as tangy and flavorful as other plums, but maybe it’s different when they’re jammed (they seem good baked). The whole lack-of-bursting makes me think they probably have pretty sturdy skins, which I worry would be bothersome in jam…

  23. 23
    Chelsea says:

    *too, ugh

  24. 24
    Emma says:

    I love this idea. What are your thoughts on using the same honey syrup with apricots?

  25. 25
    MissJubilee says:

    I finally found time to make these, and they look kinda spooky but good. The liquid is dark and the plums themselves look light, and they’re floating at the top of the jars. Is that normal?

    Of course now that they’re preserved, I don’t want to open them right away to see how they taste. Rats, should have done a tiny jar with just one so I could sample that one. Lesson learned, I’ll do that in the future!

    And I’ll also buy smaller jars and do smaller fruit in future – I had to borrow an immense pot to fit the one big quart jar I bought. The other jar I bought was a bit smaller – it held just three plums instead of six. I guess my fruit was bigger than yours, because I don’t seem to have fit as many in!

    But I’m so glad to have found a place here (China) to buy canning jars. Expensive but worth it. Hm, what to can next…?

  26. 26
    Lauren says:

    MissJubilee, my plums lightened too and are floating a bit, I don’t really think it’s a problem. I’m chocking it up to the plums releasing their liquid and shrinking a little, so while they were tightly packed before, they are now looser with more liquid to bob around in.

    My skins also split, and I did pierce every plum all over, so I guess it doesn’t work very well

  27. 27

    […] meat was cooking, I made Anna’s simple plum torte with home-canned, homegrown Italian prunes, canned according to Food in Jars’ recipe, in honey (local, bought at Pike Place Market). The prunes weren’t solid when they came out, so instead […]

  28. 28

    […] with fried potato pancakes and green beans on the side. A simple plum torte, with plus using Marisa’s recipe, finished off the meal with a smear of chunky jammy […]

  29. 29
    Kelly says:

    Oh goodness – these are so delicious. I did five jars (!) of them in the fall. I struggled to find a way to use the leftover syrup (sweetening cocktails, topping oatmeal or yogurt), but couldn’t keep up. Then the other day I had the idea to use up some gelatin leftover from a baking project to make some plum-honey-cinnamon jello. Yum yum!

  30. 30

    […] right, I just popped it into the jars, poured a syrup over top and processed. I wrote about the plums in honey, but as I look back through the archives, I realize I never managed to blog about the seckel pears […]

  31. 31
    Abby says:

    This looks like a great recipe. I almost want to throw a tempertantrum because I didn’t check this website first before I made the worst plum jam ever. I had about 10 pounds of cherry sized plums and this, I’m sure, would have been the perfect choice on how to preserve them. Live and learn! Sigh!!

    I do have a question for you if you have time. You mentioned that it will spit syrup out and make the jars sticky but that it will still last a year. I processed my jam jars and they sealed but one sometimes there is jam on the outside of the jar under the ring. Are these still good or should I somehow reprocess them?

    Thanks for all of your time building this website. You’ve done a fantastic job! It is quickly becoming my favorite!!!

  32. 32

    […] Last week I bought a bunch of plums.  I had a notion to can a few quarts in honey syrup, as per the process on Food in Jars. As ever, her way of doing things is simple and effective.  Don’t know if it’s easy […]

  33. 33

    […] Whole Plums Preserved in Honey Syrup (Recipe from Food in Jars) […]

  34. 34
    Christine says:

    Just made one little pint and a half of these to use up the plums I had in the house, I think I will be headed to the farmers market later to get more! It was so easy!! I’m going to give some to my mom to eat over her yogurt and oatmeal this winter! Can’t wait to try it!

  35. 35
    Desiree says:

    I have several plum trees in my backyard and was sooo excited to see this recipe. As I was getting tired of making Plum wine jelly. Unfortunately they did not turn out well. I think I filled the jars alittle too much and some of them siphoned out. I tried one of the jars later and the plums had turned bitter. : ( – not sure what I did wrong.

  36. 36

    […] looking at a few different recipes I decided to do a combination of this recipe from Food in jars and this recipe from the National Center for Food Preservation. I wanted […]

  37. 37
    Christine says:

    Delish. Did 4 pint jars of these last August and somehow forgot about them… just rediscovered them last night and they are so good! How did I survive without these in December and January?! I had put one cardamom pod into each pint jar (only got 2-3 plums in each jar), and I love the spicy-tangy sweetness. I’m already dreaming up a gin cocktail, and I’m thinking a simple crumb cake studded with rhubarb, drizzled in the plum-honey-cardamom syrup… some softly whipped cream… sounds like spring bliss.

  38. 38
    Monet says:

    Thank you for posting this recipe! I have a large plum tree in my yard and it is bursting with plums this year. We made 48 pint size jars last year and will probably triple that this year. This was a wonderful addition to break up the crop. We give sme away as gifts, so this will be a nice gift pack. Can’t wait to taste them ! This was really easy 🙂

  39. 39
    Christina G says:

    Has anyone tried to can using a natural sugar alternative like stevia? I’m trying to cut my sugar intake but am not sure if I’d get any strange reactions using it as an alternative.

    • 39.1
      Marisa says:

      Stevia doesn’t work in the same way that honey does in this recipe. If you’re trying to preserve fruit in this manner without sugar, consider using white grape or apple juice as the canning medium in place of the honey.

  40. 40
    Kristina says:

    I’m hoping you can help with a canning debacle! I tried to do peaches in syrup last week but had a heck of a time getting my headspace right. I’d top off the jar to 1/2 inch with syrup and UP pop the peaches. I used wide mouth jars. Could regular mouth be the answer to my problem? Thanks in advance for any help you can offer.

    • 40.1
      Marisa says:

      The only way to can whole fruit (or halved fruit) without frustration is to use regular mouth jars. The shoulders keep the fruit in place. With wide mouth jars, the fruit will float no matter what you do.

  41. 41
    Chelan says:

    My parents in law are having a bumper Italian plum crop this year and are delivering a bunch to me in the morning. Such good timing as I’ve finally found enough time to can again (weddings are a real time suck :)! I was wondering whether I can do them in halves instead of whole? I just think it would be easier to spoon out of the jar and straight into dessert without having to try to pull the pits out of sticky, squishy plums.
    -And if I do halve them, do I still have to puncture the skins?
    I intend to give a few jars back to my parents in law for Rosh Hashanah in a couple weeks. Plums and honey are big during R. H. I understand….

    -In an unrelated note, a friend gave me your book for my bridal shower and I couldn’t be more thrilled. I. Love. It. Thank you!

    • 41.1
      Marisa says:

      You can certainly do them in halves and not whole. If you cut them, it’s no longer necessary to puncture the skin. So glad you like the book!

  42. 42

    […] Spiced Whole Plums In Honey […]

  43. 43

    […]   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   In a medium saucepan, combine the honey and water and bring to a boil. Bring a canning pot or large stock pot to a boil. Put your lids into a small saucepan and bring to a simmer.(read more )  […]

  44. 44
    Lindsay says:

    These are spectacular! I made a batch in October and opened a jar now with a friend for a taste test. WOW I am so excited to have these on hand for the upcoming holidays.

    I put both a cinnamon stick and a star anise pod in each jar, and it worked out beautifully. THANK YOU for such a fabulous recipe!

  45. 45

    […] But until then I wanted to do some of my own canning. On the recommendation of my canning instructor (Janet Nezon from Rainbow Plate), I put Marisa McClellan’s Food in Jars onto my wishlist and my fabulous sister surprised me with it for my birthday! Marisa also runs the fabulous blog Food In Jars, where I spotted a recipe I knew I had to make: Plums in Honey. […]

  46. 46
    Julie says:

    I have been wanting to make these ever since you posted them I am so excited to eat these this winter I hope they taste as delicious as they look. Thank you for the wonderful recipes!!!

  47. 47

    […] and easy ready to be used for baking or ready for smooching up over yogurt or ice cream. I used this recipe for reference. But chose to go with some grated whole nutmeg in the syrup and a little vanilla. I […]

  48. 48
    Tara Sawyer says:

    I wanted to make this recipe today it looked so yummy so I picked up some plums yesterday not sure what kind they are larger and dark purple regular plums we usually have at our markets). Nonetheless my question to you is can I make this recipe but halve the plums and take the pits out instead of leaving them whole. I tested in my wide mouth jars and I can only fit 3-4 plums in the jar and it’s full with way to much space left. I thought halving them would fit more and save the time when I want to use them. BTW thank you for a great site. So far in the last week since I found your site I’ve made the strawberry vanilla jam, I made the peach jam (I added vanilla bean), canned tomato’s, your tomato butter and today it’s the plums and then pear vanilla jam and canned pears. You have inspired me to take my canning up a notch.

  49. 49

    […] 8 to be safe because you may have a load of fruit left. Apparently you can can whole fruit, such as plums, in honey syrup. Good to […]

  50. 50

    […] the Food in Jars cookbook, you can find this recipe on page 188. You can find it on the Food in Jars website, but I think it differs slightly than the one I used in the book. I found the recipe in the book to […]

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