Plum Sauce


Yields about 3 cups of sauce

Yesterday evening my daughter asked me when I was going to be healed of coeliac disease. I am amazed over and over again by how aware my children are of my coeliac disease. I am also deeply grateful for how accommodating they are of the restrictions and difficulties it places on our diet as a family, particularly at the moment as I am being extra careful while on a gluten contamination elimination diet (designed to eliminate contamination from even miniscule amounts of gluten). Although my chronic illness is nowhere near as debilitating as many chronic diseases, it places a time and social burden on me and my family that impacts my children and, as my daughter questioned me further, I realised that they also have greater anxiety about my health than I remember facing as a child with perfectly well parents. As we talked, I told my girl that I would not get better from coeliac disease in this life and would always have to be gluten free. But I was able to hold out to her my own hope for the future – that Jesus died and rose again so that I could be adopted into God’s family and look forward to the day when I get to heaven to be with God and to live a life without coeliac disease and without other sickness and sadness and storms (Cyclone Gabrielle and the damage it caused also came up in our conversation). Chronic illnesses are hard for those who live with them – both for the sufferers themselves but also for those who love them and support them and worry about them. I am grateful to have hope even in my struggles.

I don’t know how to bring that diversion back to the recipe I planned to post, so I’ll just make a complete right turn and dive straight into food talk! This recipe is for plum sauce, the result of some experimentation after the kids and I did an expedition to central Otago to stock up on stone fruit for the year ahead. I prefer it with the chilli flakes but feel free to adjust the quantity or omit them if that better suits your tastes. Unfortunately I haven’t ever mastered proper preserving and have the luxury of lots of freezer space so the recipe below is for a sauce that is kept in the fridge or freezer, depending on how long you want to store it for. If you know how to preserve properly, I see no reason why this recipe couldn’t be preserved and stored at room temperature until used. As usual, the recipe is based on a 250 ml cup as equal to 1 cup.

What you need:

1 kg of plums (I particularly like black doris or omega plums for this)

1 onion

7 – 8 garlic cloves

3 tablespoons of mild olive oil

2 teaspoons of chilli flakes

3 teaspoons of ground ginger

1 cup of brown sugar

½ cup of white wine vinegar

1 cup of room temperature water

1 teaspoon of salt

Pepper to taste

What to do:

1. Pit each plum and chop each one into eighths.

2. Finely dice the onion and garlic cloves.

3. Heat the oil in a large pot until hot. Add the diced onion and garlic to the pan along with the chilli flakes and the ground ginger and fry, stirring regularly, until the onion and garlic is soft.

4. Add the chopped plums to the pot and fry for a minute or two, stirring throughout to mix the plums thoroughly with the ingredients already in the pan and to keep the plums from burning to the bottom of the pan.

5. Add the brown sugar to the pot and stir in thoroughly with the ingredients already in the pot.

6. Add the vinegar and water to the pot, bring to the boil and then simmer for about 10 minutes with the lid off, stirring a couple of times to prevent sticking.

7. Add the salt and pepper to the pot and stir in. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as needed.

8. Take the pot off the heat and allow to cool.

9. Once cool, thoroughly blitz the cooked plum mixture in a jug blender or with a handheld blender until completely smooth. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.

10. Pour the finished plum sauce into clean jars and store for a week or two in the fridge. For longer storage, pour the sauce into clean freezer-safe containers and store in the freezer, defrosting completely and stirring if needed, when ready to use.

11. Enjoy!

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