Balsamic Pickled Plums
I love a savoury condiment. And a spiced, pickled fruit the burgundy-red of Christmas makes my heart sing. Serve these balsamic pickled plums as a side on your charcuterie board, with a hearty winter squash, with a pork chop, or on top of lentils and wild rice. These pickles are extremely easy to make!
Balsamic Pickled Plums
- 2 cups balsamic vinegar I used red balsamic for the plummy colour, but white works just as well.
- 1 cup sweet vermouth I used red vermouth, but white will work in a pinch.
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- 6 cinnamon sticks
- 14 cloves
- 8 whole allspice berries
- 10 cardamom pods
- 3 pounds plums I used Angelenos, italian prune plums.
Prepare for canning
- Clean and sterilize eight half-pint mason jars (or the equivalent) and keep them warm.
- Fill a large water bath canner with clean water and begin to bring the water to a boil.
- Place 8 mason jar lids in a small pot with hot water and set on low/simmer to keep warm.
Make the Syrup
- In a medium saucepan, combine the vinegar, vermouth, sugar, water, and whole spices.
- Bring the syrup to a boil.
- Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for six minutes.
- Remove the pot from the heat and allow to stand for 30-60 minutes, giving the spices time to infuse the syrup.
Prepare the Plums and Pack the Jars
- Wash the plums, remove any stems, slice in half, and pit.
- Slice each half-plum into thirds or quarters.
- Pack each warm, sterilized, half-pint jar with the plum slices (about 3 plums per jar).
Add the Syrup and Process
- Bring the syrup back to a boil.
- Pour the syrup through a sieve set over a funnel into each jar of plums, leaving ½-inch headspace per jar.
- Wipe jar rims clean, add a warm lid to each jar, and close with a ring, making sure each ring is not too tight by unscrewing a half-to-full turn after securing.
- Process the jars in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. The lid should be on the canning pot and the water should have returned to a rolling boil before the timer starts.
- Remove the jars from the canner and allow to cool completely on wire racks.
- You may wish to rinse the jars to remove any residual stickiness before decorating with labels and ribbons.
“If your jars siphon, check the jars for a solid seal. Clean jars thoroughly being careful to remove all food that may be trapped in the threads at the top of the jar. If food is left on the jar it will mold. Check these jars occasionally in storage to make sure they stay sealed. Mark the jars to use first. Sometimes a jar can come unsealed months after it was canned.
If liquid is lost during processing, it does not cause the food to spoil, but the food above the liquid may darken and dry. According to the National Center for Home Food Preservation, if the loss is excessive, for example, half of the liquid, refrigerate the jar(s) and use within two to three days.”If you are canning pickles and other raw pack jars in addition to other jams and jellies, you’ll probably want to do the jams and jellies first, as siphoned brines and syrups discolour the water in the canning bath and make everything canned therein sticky. Best practice after jars siphon into the canning bath would be to discard the water and to start fresh for your next set of cans. It can take some time to refill and reboil a canning bath, so process jars “most likely to siphon” last. This recipe is my own gentle revision of a tried and true “Balsamic Pickled Apricot” recipe from a Better Homes and Gardens special “Canning” magazine from 2011.