Pickled Plums

George Macculloch (1775-1858) grew a variety of vegetables and fruits on his 26-acre farm that the family relied on for food as well as additional income. More than 14 types of fruit grew on the farm, and was harvested for six months of the year. Harvesting began in May with strawberries and ended with apples, grapes and peaches in October. According to Macculloch’s garden journal, plums were typically gathered in late July until late August, and sometimes into September. His journal shows that the plum crop failed several years, including 1831, 1834, and 1843. The year 1834 must have been particularly hard since only June fruit crops succeeded (strawberries, raspberries and currants). Louisa Macculloch included several pickling recipes for fruit in her cookbook and we highlight her pickled plum recipe today.

Mrs. Macculloch’s Pickled Plum Recipe

7 pounds of plums
4 pounds of sugar
2 ounces of cinnamon
2 ounces of cloves
1 quart of cider vinegar

Put the plums into a jar in layers. Sprinkle the sugar and spice between each layer. Scald the vinegar and pour over. Repeat the second and third layer. Give plums an all a boil.

Adapted Pickled Plum Recipe (Does not require canning process)

4 cups firm plums, quartered
4 cups sugar
2 cups apple cider vinegar
Cinnamon sticks (half stick per jar)
Cloves (1 tablespoon divided between jars)

Prepare jars by sterilizing them in boiling water. Leave in water until ready to use. In a saucepan combine apple cider vinegar, cinnamon and cloves. Stir in sugar until dissolved. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for five minutes. Remove from heat.

Wash plums and cut into quarters. Put plums in jars until half full. Pour hot vinegar mixture over plums. Leave ¼ inch from top of jar. Wipe rims.

Seal each jar and refrigerate until needed.

Topic: Munchie Monday
Age / Level: High School, Life Long Learner