Monday, September 19, 2011

Red Wine Plum Preserves

Beautiful plums waiting to become preserves
This preserve recipe developed over a couple of Facebook chats with my friend Megan, who has great instincts when it comes to food. I had 4 pounds of fresh plums and I was trying to decide what to do with them... preserves, jam, jelly, or throw them in a jar of brandy? I have been on a bit of a preserves kick, so I was leaning towards making preserves. My husband voted for plum port preserves and Megan voted for red wine plum preserves. A couple of posts later, I had a rough outline of ingredients and I refined them after tasting the wine I choose to use in the preserves. I think this recipe would still work with a port, although the spices may need to be tweaked slightly. I chose an old vine zinfandel but I think a Pinot Noir would also be delicious. I used a combination of red and black plums. You may need to adjust the sugar based on the flavor of the plums.

Red Wine Plum Preserves

4 Lbs (1.8 kg) (about 12) Plums, Cut in Half and Stones Removed
1/2 Bottle (1 1/2 Cups/375 ml) of Red Wine or Port
2 Tsp of Vanilla
1 Cinnamon Stick
1/4 Tsp of Nutmeg
2 Lbs (.9 kg) of Brown Sugar
2 Tbsp of Lemon Juice
1 Tsp of Butter

Plums, wine, and spices
Combine wine, plums, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large sauce pan over medium-low heat. Heat stirring frequently until plums are soft about 20 minutes. Remove cinnamon stick. Run plums through a food mill or food processor and return to saucepan.
Soft plums ready for the food mill
 Add sugar, lemon juice, and butter and bring to a boil.
Boiling preserves
Boil until setting point is reached. (220F/104C. For information on setting point please see my blog on Blackberry Chianti Jelly). Skim foam, if any, off of top of preserves. Pour into hot sterile jars. Leave an 1/8 inch of headroom at the top of each jar.
Jars of preserves ready for a water bath
Process in boiling water bath for 5 minutes. Remove and let cool.

Plum preserves on a bagel
The bottom line: Will I make this again? Yes, this preserves tastes like autumn. It is rich and earthy. It makes me think of crisp autumn days and big piles of leaves ready to be jumped in. Right now, I have sticky reminders of plum preserves all over my kitchen. It splattered everywhere. Next time I will use a bigger sauce pan.

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