Canning plums in jars cannot be easier. Just the plums, sugar, water, and some spices, a ready dessert in a jar for the winter months.
Now, in autumn, it’s time to can the Italian plums or Zwetschgen, that are growing everywhere around here. Pears, green tomatoes, zucchini are next. And if you still have lots of plums, try this German plum cake or Zwetschgenkuchen; you will love it. Make some Stewed Plums for dessert or some easy Tender Plum Muffins (with Yogurt and Cinnamon).
This recipe is very easy, just like all my other canning recipes. All you need is fruit, some sugar, and spices.
Table of contents
What do you need?
- I use Italian plums 90% of the time. I preserve plums in jars every year, and most years, I get “tons” of Italian plums from various neighbors or friends who have a tree in their gardens. If the year is not a good one for fruit, I buy some regular plums and preserve those instead.
- The recipe is for 1 kg/ 2.2 lbs of fruit, but you can make as many jars as you want. Just increase the amount of syrup needed to cover the fruit in the jars.
- You will need ½ cinnamon stick and 1-star anise per jar.
Other ingredients: sugar and water.
- The size of the jars is not very important; those you can see in the pictures have a capacity of 350 ml/ 12 fl. oz/ 1 ½ cups. I needed 5 of them.
- Fill them with the halved fruit, and pour the syrup to cover the plums.
- The indicated amounts are perfect for the jars I have, but if you notice that you have too little liquid, you can always make a little more syrup to make sure that the fruit is properly covered. If all you need is just a little extra liquid, use hot water instead.
Other utensils (Amazon affiliate links):
- Lids for the jars
- Canner or a large pot fit for canning
- Jar lifter
- Kitchen tongs
- Kitchen towels
- Oven mitts
How to can plums?
- Prepare the jars. Make sure that both jars and lids are very clean. Sterilize the jars and lids if desired. The latest research indicates that sterilizing the jars is not necessary anymore if you are canning the jars after filling them, but you can still do it just to be on the safe side.
- Wash the plums very well.
- Halve them and remove the stones.
- Place them in the jars with the rounded skin side facing up. Pack them firmly.
- The easiest way to place them in the jars properly is by using tongs. If you try to throw them inside, many of them will flip, and you will have to do it again.
- Fill the jars leaving about 2 cm/ 0.8 inches headspace.
- I prefer to make slightly more syrup than I think I need, just to be sure. If it’s still not enough to cover the fruit completely, make more syrup if you need a lot of it (it is quick and easy). If you only need a small amount of extra liquid, use some hot water instead.
- Heat the water in a saucepan.
- Add the sugar and stir to dissolve the sugar completely.
- Once it comes to a boil, let it bubble once or twice and remove it from the heat.
- Let the sugar water cool for 5 minutes.
- Pour over the fruit in the jars, covering them completely.
- Seal with the lids and can in a canner or in a large pot in a water bath.
Tips for canning
- Always read the canner’s instructions before starting. If they differ from the instructions I am providing, please follow the official instructions; your canner might be very different.
- Lower the jars into the water one at a time with a jar lifter, or use the canning rack of the canner to lower all the jars into the water at once.
- Make sure the water covers the jars by 2 ½ to 5 cm/1 to 2 inches. If there is not enough water in the pot, add some boiling water as needed.
- Bring to a boil, cover the pot and boil for 20 to 25 minutes, depending on the size of your jars and altitude. Let cool for 5 minutes in the pot.
How to can without a canner?
- If you don’t have a canner, take a large pot that will allow the jars to stand in it and be completely covered with water.
- Place a clean kitchen towel on the bottom of the pot.
- Place the jars on the towel, making sure that they don’t touch each other.
- Cover with hot water.
- Bring to a simmer, lower the heat, and can the jars for about 25-30 minutes, trying to keep the temperature of the water constant, about 75-80 degrees Celsius/ 170-180 degrees Fahrenheit, light simmer.
- Very carefully remove the jars from the pot. You will have to wear mitts and work very carefully; there is a lot of scalding hot water involved.
- Using a jar lifter would be best.
The spices are optional, but I do recommend using them; plums without at least some cinnamon just don’t seem complete.
Check that all the jars are sealed.
Refrigerate any jars that didn’t seal for up to 3 weeks.
Store the canned plums in a dark cool place.
They will keep for at least 6 months and up to 1 year.
How to serve?
- Enjoy the canned plums as they are.
- Top oatmeal, rice, or semolina pudding.
- Serve with this delicious yogurt dessert instead of berries.
- Serve with strained Greek yogurt. Learn how to strain yogurt.
- Top pancakes, crepes, or waffles.
- Use for making cakes.
- Use the juice to moisten the cake bases before filling.
- 1 kg/ 2.2 lbs plums Italian plums or regular
- 2 ½ cinnamon sticks Note 1
- 5 anise stars
- 1,2 liter water/ 40 fl.oz/ 5 cups water
- 500 g / 1.1 lb/ 2 ½ cups granulated sugar
- Clean the jars and the lids very thoroughly and sterilize them, if desired (Note 2).
- Wash the fruit, halve, and stone.
- Pack tightly in the jars, cut side facing down, leaving about 2 cm/ 0.8 inches headspace. It helps to use tongs to place the plums in the jars.
- Add 1/2 cinnamon stick and 1 anise star into each jar.
- Heat the water in a saucepan. Add the sugar and stir to dissolve the sugar completely. Once it comes to a boil, let it bubble once or twice and remove it from the heat. Let cool for 5 minutes.
- Pour into the jars, covering the fruit completely. Wipe the rim with a clean, wet paper towel. Seal with the lids. Can.
Can with a canner:
- Read the canner instructions before using it and follow those instructions if they differ from mine.
- Fill a canner about half full of water. Bring to a boil and lower the jars into the water one at a time with a jar lifter or use the canning rack of the canner to lower all the jars into the water at once. The water should cover the jars by 2 ½ to 5 cm/1 to 2 inches. If not enough, add boiling water as needed.
- Bring to a boil, cover and boil for 20-25 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes in the pot.
- Remove wearing mitts and a jar lifter and let cool completely on folded kitchen towels.
Can without a canner:
- Use a large pot that will allow the jars to stand in it and be completely covered with water. Place a clean kitchen towel on the bottom of the pot.
- Place the jars on the towel making sure that they don’t touch each other. Cover with hot water.
- Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and can the jars for 25-30 minutes, depending on the size of the jars.
- Try to keep the temperature of the simmering water constant, about 75-80 degrees Celsius/ 170-180 degrees Fahrenheit (light simmer).
- Remove the jars from the pot using a jar lifter and mitts. Caution: the water is very hot!
- Place the jars on folded kitchen towels on the counter and let cool completely.
- Refrigerate any jars that didn’t seal for up to 3 weeks.
- Store the sealed ones in a dark cool place.
- The plums will keep for at least 6 months and up to 1 year.
- The jars I use have a capacity of 350 ml/ 12 fl.oz/ 1 ½ cups. The size is not so important, use what you have. Add ½ stick and 1 star anise per jar.
- The latest research indicates that sterilizing the jars is not necessary anymore if you are canning the jars after filling them, but you can still do it just to be on the safe side.