A friend of mine had an overabundance of plums. Great for me since we took home about 5 gallons worth.
I thought I’d share what I did with those plums to help you maximize your harvest. In the end all I threw out were the pits after I did what I could with them. Later I thought there was a chance we could have cracked them like nuts and used the insides but I felt like we’d done what we could.
We did lose a few plums to spoilage but those we didn’t, we sliced in half, removed the seed and placed them in a large pot. When I first put the pot on the stove (medium heat), I added about an inch of water to prevent the lower plums from burning. We continued cutting plums up and adding them to the pot. The pot did reach an apex where we could add no more. At that point, I started to pull the liquid off the plums. For that, I set my food mill in a pot then ladled the juice into it (catching any bits of plum as I went).
Once I had all the plums cooked down, I began the serious process of separating the juice from the solids. The solids were worked through the mill into another container to make plum sauce. When I was done, I had 4 sets of goods from my plums – the pits, the juice, the sauce, and the remaining solids.
The sauce went into 3 quart jars. The remaining solids, the peels and pulp, went into the blender to make a more fibrous sauce. Plum puree is a great egg/sugar replacement in recipes. It’s a great way to use up more of the plum since there are no real “yucky” parts such as you would find in other fruits. I got 2 more quarts of sauce that way which will be great for baking this winter.
The juice was separated into 2 batches – jelly and syrup. I discovered after I had made 2 batches of jelly that jelly made with Sure Jell will breakdown if you over waterbath the jars. Unfortunately, I didn’t know that and let my jars cool some. This meant that I had to set the jars in warm water and bring to a boil. I, also, added 5 minutes because of elevation. Honestly, I don’t know how their instructions on waterbathing your jellies is approved by the Canning Police. Anyway, I spent all day making a huge batch of syrup in small increments when I could have just made one big batch without the two boxes of Sure Jell.
What I am really excited to share with you is what I did with the pits. Originally, I was just going to make almond extract. I’ve done this before with some awful vodka but it works for the most part. I just wanted some that tasted better for recipes that don’t cook out the horrible alcohol taste (I have since learned that the vodka you use does make a huge difference).
I put the pits in a large glass jar and covered with vodka. I used Seagrams.
These sat for most of the day. Then I realized what I really wanted was some homemade amaretto. Since I hadn’t planned for this, I had to adjust my recipe to what I had. I had 2 cups of almond flavored vodka.
In a large measuring cup, I mixed 1/2 cup sugar with 1/2 cup brown sugar. The recipe calls for dark brown sugar but I only had light so I added about a teaspoon of molasses. Covered that with a cup of boiling water to dissolve the sugar. I did have to put that in the microwave for 30 seconds because my water got too cold before the sugar dissolved. Add 1/2 cup of corn syrup and some vanilla extract.
Once that was done, I mixed it all into a quart jar.
Doesn’t look like much but the taste is better than any brand of amaretto on the market. Has a bit of a bite and that slight molasses flavor. We sampled some in a cup of hot milk (my favorite way to drink amaretto). Got to say it was tough not to go back for more. This is what is going to keep us warm and happy this winter.
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
3/4 cup very hot water
1/2 cup corn syrup
1 1/2 cups 80-proof vodka
1 tablespoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Combine the hot water with the sugars in a medium glass pitcher or bowl. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add corn syrup and stir well. Add vodka and flavorings and stir. Store in a sealed container.