Five Spice Plum Sauce

[Photographs: Emily Teel]

A savory, sweet, and spicy condiment to preserve that's perfect for when you've got plenty of fruit, but you don't need another jar of jam.

About the Author: Emily Teel is food writer and recipe developer in Philadelphia. Follow along at @brotherly_grub on Twitter, and see more of her work at

Every recipe we publish is tested, tasted, and Serious Eats-approved by our staff. Never miss a recipe again by following @SeriousRecipes on Twitter!

Five Spice Plum Sauce

About This Recipe

Yield:5 12-ounce jars
Active time:1 1/2 hours
Total time:2 1/2 hours
Special equipment:a boiling water canner, a jar lifter, a food mill
This recipe appears in: Preserved: Five Spice Plum Sauce


  • 4 pounds plums, pitted and chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2-3 inch chunk of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 2-4 chili peppers (hot), stemmed and chopped
  • 2 cups red wine or apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1 whole (3-4 inch) cinnamon stick
  • 4 whole star anise pods
  • 1 teaspoon sichuan peppercorn
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole fennel seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns


  1. 1

    Prepare boiling water canner and sterilize 5 12-ounce jars by boiling them for ten minutes. Wash lids and rings and bring to a simmer in a separate, small saucepan of water. Turn off heat and allow jars, lids, and rings to sit in hot water until you need them.

  2. 2

    In a heavy-bottomed, non-reactive pot, bring plums, water, onion, garlic, ginger, and chili peppers to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.

  3. 3

    Add to plum mixture sugar, vinegar, spices, and soy sauce and continue to simmer until plums are falling apart and the mixture is quite soft, about 20 minutes.

  4. 4

    Remove cinnamon stick and pass mixture through a food mill in batches into another non-reactive saucepan.

  5. 5

    Return the mixture to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook until the texture is pulpy and saucy.

  6. 6

    Remove from heat and ladle into prepared jars, leaving a half inch of headspace. Wipe the rims of the jar lids with a clean kitchen or paper towel and seal.

  7. 7

    Place the sealed jars back into the canning kettle. When all jars are added, make sure that the water level clears the jar lids by at least one inch. Add more water if necessary, and, over high heat, bring the water back up to a boil. Once the water boils, set a timer for ten minutes.

  8. 8

    After ten minutes, turn off heat, and allow jars to sit in water for five additional minutes. Then, using a jar lifter, remove the jars to a cooling rack.

  9. 9

    Once jars have reached room temperature, remove rings and test that all lids have sealed properly. If any have not sealed, store them in the refrigerator. Label and store sealed jars in a cool place out of direct sunlight.


Add a rating with your comment:

Comments can take up to a minute to appear - please be patient!

Previewing your comment: