This year a hard freeze or two affected the fruit tree harvest in the Treasure Valley, so my quest to find plums turned in to a decision on where to purchase plums. Naturally, I had to buy local, too. After strolling the Capital City Public Market one Saturday, I walked by the Waterwheel Gardens booth. I asked about a bulk price for more than 20 pounds; was that possible? Later that week Matt and I text messaged back and forth until a quantity and price was established. On Saturday I proudly picked up a box of plums and I was on my way to literally living in my kitchen for the weekend. Literally. Where is my favorite apron? Where did I store those stockpots again? I spent the morning hoping I had enough organic sugar, too.
Fruits of my labor (or is that labors?) are 28 pint jars of my savory plum sauce. These delightful jars will be hand delivered to friends and clients with a recipe card with two ideas. One, just using the sauce over chicken or pork. The second is adding ingredients for a plum chipotle barbecue sauce. Just to tempt you a bit, I will share my plum sauce weekend with you!
The first step was washing the plums and removing any stems that happened to not have come off after picking at the farm. Thank goodness for the over the sink mesh colander, too. I quartered each plum and discarded the seed. Twenty pounds of plums went in to my larger pot and fifteen pounds went in to a smaller pot.
I filled each pot with water, about two inches below the top of the plums. For every 5 pounds of plums, I added a half cup of sugar. I let those two pots simmer and went to work de-stemming two packages of fresh thyme. That was more time consuming than all the plums, no lie.
You see, I am not particularly fond of sweet anything. I am all about spice. Give me chocolate and it will last a year. Give me savory and it will be gone in less than a week. So, when I went about making this sauce last fall, I actually tried to recreate a dessert my friend, Linda, had made at her Ketchum home. It was a Rustic Plum tart with fresh thyme. It was as delicious as it was gorgeous. Thyme…. In the 20 pound pot, I added a package of thyme leaves. In the 15 pound pot, I added 3/4 of the package. You can add to taste. I suppose for every five pounds, add a quarter of the package. And, I am referring to the 2/3 oz packages in the produce section.
My Saturday night was in my kitchen, up late. Somehow, I managed to clean, quarter and de-seed all thirty five pounds of plums. My feet hurt from standing so long. (Must look for that massage certificate). I let the two pots slow simmer all night. Well, from midnight to about 5:00 a.m. Yes, I woke up at five to turn the range top off. Up two hours later, went for my hike/jog in the Boise Foothills, and even managed a 16 mile bike ride with Paul. Had to get those kinks out of my back because the rest of Sunday was canning it all.
Once the sauce cooled, I did run it all thru my food processor; I just felt like having a smooth sauce this fall. I think it will cook easier, too. I had 30 pint jars, filled 28 of them, and canned until I was too tired to do any more, leaving the remainder of the canning work for Monday afternoon. Oh, by now you are wondering about that Plum Chipotle sauce recipe, aren’t you? See below!
Plum Chipotle Barbecue Sauce
Two cups or one pint of Savory Plum Sauce
1/2 cup minced sweet yellow onion
1/4 cup minced roasted red bell pepper
2-3 garlic cloves, you decide
1 or 2 minced canned chipotle chiles, to taste
NOTE: I used my food processor for the above ingredients
1/4 cup brown sugar
Dash or two balsamic vinegar
Simmer until all flavors have blended