How to Make Plum Barbeque Sauce and Syrup (2-for-1!)

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Have you ever wondered what to do with those plums that get a little squishy and lackadaisical? Here is a great recipe/technique on how to maximize your utility from slightly-over-the-hill plums!

Because they are so acidic, plums make a great marinade for tougher meats, thus the plum barbecue sauce. The syrup is great on pancakes, in coctails, or mixed with seltzer for a healthy soda.

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Step 1: Locate Plums

This may seem obvious, but you need plums to make plum barbecue sauce. If you know of plum tree in your neighborhood, please skip this step. Otherwise, locate plum tress in your neighborhood by going to Public Trees Map at Neighborhood Fruit website. Put your zipcode and distance (ex. 94110 and 1) and search. Take note of the tree address and get ready for your adventure!

Step 2: Pick Plums

Grab your fruit picker, and go harvest some plums. BTW, plums are in season June-Aug in North America. It's best to put plums after picking into a hard sided container, like a bucket or a basket for transport home.

Step 3: Wash and Sort Your Plums

When you get the plums home, wash and separate them into the ones that are hard and good for eating straight, and those that are slightly bruised and over ripe. We usually wash our fruit three times just to be sure it's clean. Fruit that is hard and good for eating may be stored in fridge to arrest the ripening.

Step 4: Pit and Toss Into a Pot

Take the plums and squish them over a pot, removing and disposing of the seeds. Add 1/4-1/2 cup of sugar for each pound of plums. Put the pot onto a burner, once simmering, turn down to low heat. NOTE: You only want to fill the pot up half way, because it will want to boil over. Reduce the volume by 1/3-1/2, stirring regularly to prevent burning on the bottom.

Step 5: Filter and Make Syrup

Take the plum mixture and pour it through a colander to remove the solids, collect the liquid that runs off: this is the plum syrup. If it's not thick enough, you can cook it down more in the pot. It should stick to a spoon. Put the syrup in the fridge, it'll keep for a month.

Step 6: Make the Barbeque Sauce

Take the plum slurry from the colander, and put it into a blender along with one onion (caramelized), 1-2 tablespoons of sea salt, and one de-seeded habanero pepper. Blend until smooth and put into a jar. The barbeque sauce will keep for a few weeks. Marinate meat and so forth in it for at least 3 hours before cooking to optimize tenderness.

Step 7: (Optional) Register a Tree

Found a tree in your neighborhood that is not on the Public Tree Map? Please register it!

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    7 Discussions


    7 years ago on Step 6

    Because it can be really difficult to keep those plums from over-over-ripening, you don't want to wash more than you will work with in the next hour or so. (Especially for those easy-grow plums that ripen, and over ripen, really quickly)
    I puree as much as I can and stick it in premeasured quantities in the freezer, then come back to recipes like this and do the cooking later. And it is nice to not have to heat up the whole house in the heat of summer, if I want to wait til it's cooler outside. Can't wait to try out your recipe! I have way more over-ripe plums than I can use, but I hate throwing them out.


    10 years ago on Step 6

    you can make this 3 for 1! - Heat some of the seedless mxture in a pot till its of a watery consistency- then you have a basic base to make plum wine from too : )

    1 reply

    We don't have any fruit trees, we live in apartments, actually. We use the map of trees onpublic land to find plum trees around the city. It's pretty simple, and lots of fun to go "hunting" for plums!

    Thank you for your feedback, we are working to make it less complex. SInce we built the website using open-source software, there are some parts that are a bit difficult to streamline. Thanks for trying it!