Spicy Pflaumenmus recipe or German plum butter, a traditional way of preserving plums in Germany.
Pflaumenmus or plum butter is probably the most popular homemade jam in Germany.
Plums or Zwetschgen (Italian plums) grow just about anywhere and if you live anywhere in the countryside you don't ever have to buy any plums actually. Even if you don't have a tree in your garden, you can be sure to get tons of them from friends and neighbors every autumn.
What is Pflaumenmus?
Pflaumenmus is a traditional kind of plum jam typical for Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Poland. The main difference between this plum butter and regular jam is that Pflaumenmus contains less sugar and it is made without any gelling agents or preservatives.
There are several ways of cooking it, and they all have one thing in common: the “Mus” has to be cooked for several hours. Over the years, I've tried all the methods I could find. And found the way that makes our favorite fruit butter. And not just our favorite. I make many jars of this jam every autumn, so lots of people get some as a present. They all say it is the best Pflaumenmus they've had.
What makes it better?
It is cooked for a long time, but not as long as many other recipes. This way, although nicely thickened, it is not as heavy (in taste and consistency) as other sorts. It retains a lot of fruity flavors. While other kinds of butter taste mostly sweet and spicy with a more or less pronounced caramel note, my plum butter is fresher, only gently spiced and really tasting of plums.
Ways of making plum butter
- The chopped plums are sprinkled with sugar and are baked for about 3 hours in the oven. Once cooked, add the spices and blend.
- One drawback for me: the plums release a lot of water and I managed to make a real mess of my oven twice.
- The fruit is cooked for up to 20 hours in the slow cooker until thickened and caramelized.
- It works well but my kitchen is rather small and having the slow cooker occupying an important surface for 20 hours makes me think twice before using this method.
- Works best for me.
- It also allows me to decide when to stop cooking the butter. And I do that sooner than other people because I prefer the fruitier, fresher version of the jam.
What kind of plums do you need?
- Italian plum (Zwetschgen) or regular plums, it is really up to you.
- I use the Italian (or German plums) most of the time because I always get them for free and in considerable amounts.
- The quantities are really up to you. Use as many as you have or as many as your largest cooking pot can hold.
- Today's recipe uses 2 kg/ 4.4 oz Zwetschgen and yields about 5 jars with a capacity of about 300 ml/ 10 fl.oz.
- You will have to adjust the sugar accordingly. For this amount of fruit, I needed 400 g/ 14 oz/ 2 cups sugar.
How to make Pflaumenmus?
- Wash and stone the fruit. Chop roughly. Place in a large, wide, and deep pot.
- Add ¼ cup water, not more than that as the fruit will release a lot of juice as well.
- Heat slowly and cook for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally until the plums are completely soft and broken.
- Blend with an immersion blender until smooth.
- Cook for another 10 minutes. The butter will start to bubble immediately and the bubbling will be quite violent during the first 5-6 minutes. It is better to cover the pot, leaving a small crack open, during this time. Once the bubbling has calmed down, remove the lid.
- Add the spices and the sugar and mix well.
- Continue cooking for another 30 minutes to 1 hour until the Pflaumenmus has thickened to your liking. If you like it to be more caramelized, you can even cook it for longer, a total time of 2-3 hours.
- Don't forget to stir well every 5 minutes or so, making sure to scrape the bottom of the pot well.
- Ladle into clean jars leaving about 0.6 cm/ ¼ inch headspace. Clean the rims and close the jars.
- Can in a water bath canner or in a large pot for 10 minutes. Leave in the canner for further 5 minutes.
- Remove with a jar lifter and let cool completely and undisturbed on folded kitchen cloths.
The pot should be very large, wide and rather deep. The plums will release a lot of water and you don't want that overcooking.
Pflaumenmus will thicken, but it is not as thick as preserves thickened with pectin or other gelling agents. So, don't think anything is wrong with the jam if it is not stiff.
You can adjust the spice quantities according to your taste. You can add more for a spicier spread or you can leave them out completely, the results will still be delicious.
If you don't have a canner, you can still can the jars in a large pot. Place a folded kitchen cloth on the bottom of the pot and arrange the jars in it making sure that they don't touch each other. Cover with water and boil gently for 10 minutes. Leave for 5 minutes, remove and let cool on folded kitchen towels on the counter.
How to keep it?
Pflaumenmus will keep well for at least one year.
Once canned and cooled, check the lids. If you find some that are not sealed properly, keep those in the refrigerator. Unopened, they will keep for about 6 months.
Once you open a jar, keep it refrigerated. It will also keep for quite a while, at least one month. But that is easy to check, mold is very easily spotted.
More fruit butter and preserves:
Pflaumenmus – German Plum Butter
- 2 kg/ 4.4 lbs plums Italian or regular
- 400 g/ 14 oz/ 2 cups sugar
- 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon Note
- ½ teaspoon ground anise
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 teaspoon ground allspice
- Wash, stone, and roughly chop the plums. Place them in a very large, wide, and deep pot. Add 60 ml/ ¼ cup water and stir. Heat slowly. Once it starts to boil, turn the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes or until the fruit is completely soft and broken down.
- Blend with an immersion blender until smooth. Cook for another 10 minutes. The butter will start to bubble immediately and the bubbling will be quite violent during the first 5-6 minutes. It is better to cover the pot, leaving a crack open, during this time. Once the bubbling has calmed down, remove the lid.
- Add the spices and the sugar and mix well. Continue cooking on low heat, uncovered, for another 30 minutes to 1 hour until the Pflaumenmus has thickened to your liking, stirring every 5 minutes or so making sure that you scrape the bottom of the pot as well.
- Mine is cooked for 30 minutes and it is really fruity. The longer you cook it, the sweeter and more caramelized it will become. If you like more of a caramel note, you can cook it for longer, a total time of 2-3 hours.
- Ladle into clean jars leaving about 0.6 cm/ ¼ inch headspace. Wipe the rims and place the lids on. Can in a water bath canner for 10 minutes. Leave to rest for 5 minutes. Carefully remove using a jar lifter and wearing mitts. Place on folded kitchen cloths and leave, undisturbed, to cool completely.