Canned Plums & Spice

Plums are one of those plentiful fruits that grow almost anywhere and one that is easy to water-bath can in syrup! As usual the faithful trees of our community offered us a hearty summer’s yield, a plentiful supply of the plump, purple ovals which ripened mid-September. Jams, syrups, preserves, stewed and halved…my cold room is overwhelmed with plum sweets!

However, I always felt that canning plum halves was somewhat wasteful. After processing, the plums would compress, resulting in a half-filled jar! Surely there had to be a way to fill the jars (and use less of them!).

So I, along with the help of my little sis who was visiting, learned a faster way to pit plums that enabled us to leave them in whole form. This method is kid safe as it doesn’t require the use of a knife!


How to Pit a Whole Plum

After washing the plentiful purple ovals, we each took a wooden spoon from the kitchen. Beginning where the stem attached…

how to pit a whole plum


…we’d make contact with the large seed and force the ends of our wooden spoon up and through the plum.

how to pit a whole plum


Every time, the seed would burst through the other end, leaving a roundish exit hole behind!

how to pit a whole plum


As fruits were pitted, we stuffed those deep purple gems into jars, tight as we could pack them!

A syrup was made with water, honey, cloves, cinnamon and some vanilla extract. The scent was heavenly! Pouring that liquid over the plums was enough to make me drool.

We popped quarts into the water-bath canner for 30 minutes (proper time for my elevation). Upon removing jars after they completed their cycle, I was struck by their deep color, a lovely wine-purple! And joy of joys?! My jars looked as if they were mostly filled!

Because good things were meant to be shared, here’s the recipe for your kitchen!

Learn how to pit and can plums with spice!


Whole Plums & Spice

  • plums to fill 7 quart jars (approx 14-16 lbs)
  • 8 C water
  • 3/4-1 C honey
  • 8-10 cloves
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon or 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions: combine syrup ingredients. Bring to boil and then simmer for 10 minutes. Pit plums as directed above and tightly pack into jars. Go ahead and press down on the fruits! They will compact when canned and the more you fit per jar, the better. When ready, pour syrup into jars, leaving 1 inch head space. Clean rims and place hot lids down, sealing with metal band. Process and let cool for 24 hrs before storing away.

At just over 2,000 ft in elevation, I had to process quarts for 30 min and pints for 25.

how to can plums with spices