Plum Goodness – Plum-Cranberry Sauce

Having our own plum tree can be both a blessing and a curse.  A blessing because over the past two years we harvested more than 400 pounds of fruit, a curse because over the past two years we harvested more than 400 pounds of fruit and more than 200 of it had to be canned or processed.  Last year we only had about 85 pounds of usable fruit to work with, but seeing as I still had plum pulp and juice in the freezer from 2013, I wasn’t about to complain.

Our whole family loves plum everything.  I make jam, jelly, preserves, juice, pie filling, can the whole fruit, and even dry them and make plum fruit leather.  Still, with so much fruit, the freezer quickly filled of containers of fruit and pulp that I had to save for another day. Today was that day.

Having a wonderful stockpile of cranberries in the freezer to keep me happy until next October when they once again will be sold locally, I decided to use some of them to make homemade cranberry sauce.  Not wanting to miss out on an opportunity to improve upon an old favorite, I decided that rather than use the “water” the recipe called for, I would use plum juice.  What a great way to utilize the abundance of plum juice in the freezer and make our cranberry sauce even better.

Plum-Cranberry Sauce/Spread


  • 3 – 12 oz. Packages Cranberries, fresh or frozen
  • 3 Cups Plum Juice
  • 3 Cups Sugar
  • 7 Tbsp. Clear Jel mixed in 1/2 Cup Water

Rinse and sort cranberries.  Combine cranberries and plum juice in large stock pot and slowly bring to a boil.  Boil for 10 minutes covered, allowing the cranberries to pop.


Remove from heat.  Using a stick blender, puree the cranberries until the mixture is smooth.  Pour liquid into a mesh strainer, removing the seeds and skins from the sauce.


Return the strained sauce to the stock pot and add the sugar.  Stir over medium heat until sugar is dissolved.


Slowly stir in Clear Jel slurry and increase heat to medium-high.  Bring to boil and boil hard for one minute.

Remove from heat and ladle into hot jars.  Process for 20 minutes in water-bath canner.

This recipe yields 5 – 12 oz. jars and 1 – 8 oz jar.

This particular recipe does not make a cranberry sauce that is jellied as those in the stores.  It is smooth and spreadable.  Not jellied enough for molding or slicing.

Plum Cranberry Sauce (1)

We especially like using this sauce on turkey burgers and pork, or even spreading on chicken like barbecue sauce.  It is sweet but still tart and the plum juice adds a subtle undertone of fruity flavor that makes this a great staple to have on hand for all sorts of meals.

An over abundance of plums might be a lot of work and at times may seem like a curse, but actually I am very grateful and love every minute of it.  From the first bud in spring, until the last plum is harvested, to the first taste of juicy fruit, and finally the last drop of juice frozen, I am Simply Grateful.

I’m Just Steamed About Making Juice!

Last year with 120 pounds of plums from our tree to contend with, I had to get creative in finding ways in which I could utilize every last one.  In researching various ways in which the plums could be used, I came across several people who had used a steam juicer to extract juice from the plums.  The process looked easy and very quick.

Knowing that plums would not be the only fruit I used such a gadget on, I decided to use a gift card from Amazon that I received for my birthday to splurge on this luxury.


Three days later, I had my steamer and steamed my first batch of pure plum juice.  Although quite tart, with just a little honey it turned into the perfect breakfast juice to serve the family.

This year, although I have fewer plums, I also have fewer things that I need to make, as the pantry is still quite stocked with plum goods.  Plum juice however is something I doubt I’ll ever have too much of.

The process with a steamer is very simple.  First slice plums in half, no need to remove the pits.


Place plums in basket portion of steamer.


Fill bottom of pot with water nearly to the top, place the juice collecting portion on top of the water, the basket with the plums on top of that and top with the lid.  Turn the stove on high.


Within 15 minutes juice will begin to trickle down the tube, into a bowl.


After about 45 minutes you’ll have a bowl full of filtered plum juice.


I then mix in either 1/2 Cup of sugar per 4 cups or 3/4 Cup honey per 8 cups, heat till combined and pour into hot jars.  Process this in water bath for 15 minutes and you’ve got plum juice to stock the pantry.


Filling my steamer basket to the top with plums yielded me four quarts of juice.  This is a great way to use some of the over-ripe and bruised fruit that you might not want to use in pie filling or jam.  This year I’ve used under-ripe, ripe, and over-ripe plums and the combination has been successful.

Now, if you want, you can use the pulp that is left in the basket to make plum jam or butter.  It took everything inside of me not to use the pulp, but I could not justify making more jam or butter when there is plenty in the pantry and freezing it wasn’t an option, as every inch of freezer space is taken.


If you plan on doing this though I suggest you pit the plums.  Last year the  first batch of juice I steamed I didn’t pit the plums and decided I wanted to use the pulp.  It took me over an hour to pull out all the pits by hand.  It would be easier to do prior to steaming.  If you don’t plan on using the pulp leaving the pits in makes for a quicker process.

Making sure that none of the bounty from our little tree goes to waste is important to me.  We’ve shared them with our neighbors, given some to our parents, eaten our fill, and I’m still canning.  After such a terrible winter and all the fruit crops that did not survive for 2014, I truly appreciate what we have been given, and for this I am — Simply Grateful.