Plum Syrup – Every year, as summer draws to a close and fall abounds, we have plums coming out our ears! The first summer in our home left us with many surprises; we looked at and bought our home during the tail end of Winter and moved in during Spring, so we had no idea what fruit trees were on our property. Boy were we surprised to find 6 varieties of fruit trees, 12 of them being of the various plum varieties. Like I said, they were coming out our ears!
We ate as many as possible straight off the tree, but knew we had to find a way to preserve this abundance of free food. The first year we dehydrated, froze and canned our fair share, but none of these held a candle to eating them fresh. After all our hard labor, a friend told us they grew up making plum syrup…so we tucked that info away for next year. Lo and behold, the next year we made plum syrup and were sold after the very first batch!
We go through a quantifiable amount of maple syrup in our home, and quality, organic Grade A Maple Syrup (formally known as Grade B), costs a small fortune! Since I like using maple syrup in my cooking and as a sweetener, finding an affordable alternative to the syrup we drizzle over pancakes, waffles and even cuts of pork was a huge bonus!
Even better, with the pulp left over from making this syrup, I blended it up in the Vitamix, sweetened it up with a bit of sugar, and popped it in the dehydrator for homemade fruit leathers! Virtually no waste!
Plums (any variety)*
Vanilla Extract (optional)
* The quantities for this recipe will vary based on the amount of juice you’re left with after cooking/straining your plums. Continue reading for ratios below.
To Make: This plum syrup recipe is best done over the course of two days, but it can be squeezed into one full day if needed.
Step 1: Halve and pit plums and place in a large pot (don’t fill pots completely, it makes step 5 much harder).
Step 2: Add just enough water to cover the bottom of the pot by 1/4 inch (this is to prevent burning) and turn stove onto medium-low. Add lid and cook for about ten minutes. Keep a watchful eye that your plums don’t burn, stir if needed!
Step 3: Once plums are simmering and juices begin to release, remove lid and bring to a boil. Stirring every 10 minutes or so, keep plums at a boil for 20-40 minutes until they are soft and mushy (this will depend on how many plums you have). You can mash plums a bit to help release as much juice as possible.
Step 4: Turn burner off and allow to cool for 30-60 minutes (we don’t want any burns when pouring).
Step 5: Place a colander over a large bowl, line the colander with cheesecloth or a tea towel and pour plums through cloth. The juice will strain through to the bowl beneath, so be sure it’s large enough to catch all your juice!
Step 6: I like to leave this to strain for several hours or overnight (you’ll be amazed how much juice strains through). Place a tea towel over the top of your plums to keep any bugs out.
Step 7: Gather your canning supplies and prepare your jars/lids.
Step 8: Measure how much juice you have and pour into a heavy bottomed stock pot. Don’t discard the pulp! Put it in a ziptop bag and refrigerate or freeze to make sweet and chewy fruit leathers later on.
Step 9: Turn the burner on medium to medium-high and for each cup of juice, add 1/4-1/2 cup sugar, one tablespoon lemon juice and optional flavorings (1/2 tsp. vanilla extract or 1/8 tsp. cinnamon per cup of juice).
Step 10: Continue stirring until your mixture comes to a boil. At this point, taste and adjust according to your preferences. The original recipe calls for 1 cup of sugar per cup of juice, but we find 1/4-1/2 cup makes it plenty sweet.
Step 11: Your syrup is now ready for canning! However, if you’d like a thicker syrup, continue stirring/cooking until mixture has reduced down to your preferred thickness (keep in mind, syrup thickens up as it cools, so don’t reduce too much).
Step 12: Carefully ladle syrup into hot jars, wipe rims with a damp cloth and add lids. Screw on bands to fingertip tight and process for 10 minutes. Remove jars and let cool on a wire rack. Remove bands and wipe jars clean. Store in root cellar, pantry or dark cupboard.
Use this syrup on waffles, pancakes, to flavor your kombucha or water kefir, to top ice cream or as a dip for pork (as pictured above)!
Thanks! this worked out perfect. I’m planning for using it as a fun martini mixer so I went a little sweeter.
Oooooooo! Never thought of a mixer. Please let us know how that tastes!
Hi! I found your recipe for the plum syrup last night after extracting the juice with a steam juicer, but it wasn’t getting thick. I happened to think that my cousin had used corn starch to thicken huckleberry sauce for hotcakes when she was here, so decided to try it, and it worked fine. I canned the rest of the plum juice just adding 1/2 cup of sugar per quart. That way I can use it for other things like jelly if I want to, or just make up 1 quart of syrups a time. Thanks for getting me started in the right direction!
Instead of canning can I just freeze the syrup?
Sure! That’d work just fine, Marybeth. I’d suggest freezing in ice cube trays and then storing in a large ziplock freezer bag.
This recipe is fantastic. I was blessed with 13 pounds of plums from a friend’s tree. I made 3 batches of plum jam and still had a couple pounds leftover. Upon finding your recipe, I was able to make 8 half pints of vanilla plum syrup and l’ve got the fruit leather (4 trays) in the dehydrator now. The color is a glorious ruby bed and the flavor is lovely. Thank you!
Yay! I’m so glad you liked the recipe Michelle! Our plums are still little and green, but our trees are LOADED this year! It will be a few more months until we’re rolling in the plum syrup, jam, and fruit leather!
Found your recipes for the syrup & fruit leather and using both with the Apriums (plum/apricot blend fruit) that we have here in CA. The syrup is so yummy & the fruit leather is drying in my oven. Thanks for your helpful recipes!!!
Nice, thanks for sharing Kelle! I’ve never heard of an Aprium, it sounds amazing! I hope the fruit leather was a hit!
I usually use all parts of my fruit as well, but this year I have been struggling with extreme fatigue and brain fog difficulties. I tried canning when our apricots were ready, but it was a huge struggle. I said I would not do any more canning this year. However, our plums are ripe and I just don’t want to waste them. I looked for a plum syrup and found your recipe and used our steam juicer. I washed the plums and put them directly in my steam juicer strainer and let it do the work. All I had to do was keep the lower pot filled with water and let the juices drop without having the extra work. So even though I wasted the pulp, I still was able to use my plums. Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe!!!
That’s great Andrea! Glad you were able to make plum syrup, and thanks for the tip on using a steam juicer!
I had 10 cups of plum juice left over from making 26 jars of jelly, so thought of syrup. I searched several recipes and settled on this one. I decided to add both vanilla & cinnamon and a tablespoon of butter…yummy! I added a cornstarch slurry to thicken it (not patient enough to wait for it to reduce!). Once the perfect thickness, I canned 10 – 8oz jars & 1 quart jar (for me!). I had enough left, so made pancakes with the syrup over them. I can’t begin to tell you how EXCELLENT it was!! I am going to savor every drop until next season. Thank you for a most excellent recipe!
Barb this is WONDERFUL!!! We love this recipe, too and are eagerly anticipating our plum trees ripening! Thanks for the great tip about adding butter and the cornstarch slurry! I agree, waiting for to thicken isn’t always easy. I’ll tuck this nugget in my back pocket in case I’m short on time later this summer! 🙂
It was great finding this recipe, thanks. I have one tree with little plums on it. I didn’t even think I was going to get plums on the tree at all. As they began to fall off I gathered them up and used this recipe. There wasn’t much but I got one nice jar of syrup! Very happy with it and it is yummy! Thanks again!
Only thing is cornstarch breaks down when processing.
They make and sell a cornstarch that is specifically made for canning we use it when we make our apple pie filling
Thanks for the info Karenia! I’ll have to keep my eye out for that, I would love a thicker syrup without having to cook it so long.
You can also make fruit butter in a crock pot it’s I do it all the time in the summer.
Yummy! I might have to try a batch of plum butter this year. We usually stick to just the fruit leather and jelly, but it couldn’t hurt to mix it up a bit! Thanks for the idea Becky!
Instead of boiling and straining to get juice do you think using a juicer would work?
Yes! A juicer would work wonderfully, Jenny! You’ll likely get a lot more juice out of the plums, and save yourself the step of mashing and straining which can take hours. Be sure to use the mash for our homemade fruit leather recipe!
How long does this last on the shelf? Does it need to be refrigerated once open?
Hi Kathryn, we usually use up our syrup within a year once canned and have never opened one that was spoiled. Yes, you’ll want to refrigerate it once opened and ours tends to last a few weeks in the refrigerator before getting mold. I actually started canning them in smaller jars, just to avoid part of the jar going bad before using it. No one wants to waste food!
The pulp can also be turned into Plum Jam with just an added cup or two of water after being stirred around and around in a colander to push the pulp through the colander holes thus separating the pips from the pulp , then add equal amount of sugar to the pulp , reheat in a pot on the stove top until it’s boiled for ten minutes at which time take a dessert spoon out put it on a saucer to see if it will “Set” , as it cools it’ll set and form a skin that’s when you put Your Plum/Sugar=Plum Jam mix into jars and seal with lids whilst HOT they Will pop down and Seal … enjoy
What a great idea Christi! Thanks! We usually dehydrate it into leathers, but I think this next summer we’ll have to give jam a try! Much less time consuming! 😉
How many plums did you start with? Just bought our first house to learn we have 30 plum trees!!! I’ve made jam, bbq sauce, and Chinese plum sauce so far and they are still coming out my ears!
Elizabeth, I usually make plum syrup in my 3 gallon stock pot, so I’ll start with it about 3/4 full. Because the recipe is based on the amount of juice your fruit yields, it’s not an exact amount!
I use a old fashion sieve on the plums after I cook them down. It takes a little bit of muscle but you get every bit of juice out of the plums this way. Plum-Strawberry Jam is so good also and Spiced Plum Syrup and jam.
That sounds amazing Holly! Sometimes those old tools are the best aren’t they?
If you want an alternative way to use the pulp, try plum butter. I run the pulp through a Foley mill (with the blade loosened so that it skips over the pits). It’s a bit tedious with a lot of back-and-forth working of the handle/blade, but it gets the job done. Then I cook on low in a heavy bottomed pot, adding sugar, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg – all to taste. As it thickens, keep an eye on it, because it can scorch. (Some people recommend making butter in the oven so you don’t have to watch it carefully, but I avoid oven use in the summer.) This can be amazingly good.
What a great idea! Thanks Nora! The combination of plums, sugar, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg sound SO yummy! Definitely going to try this with a batch of the pulp (we have over 8 gallons of it!).
Wow, I have never heard of plum syrup. My grandmother used to make plum jam from her backyard trees and just thinking about it brings back so many sweet memories. Love that you can use everything and there’s hardly any waste!
Yes! It’s so fun and I love teaching my kiddos! We’ve also made plum jam! It’s so yummy! Love those memories you have Danielle!
Gosh this sounds amazingly delicious!
This sounds amazing!!! I love plums, I can imagine how delicious this syrup is.
YUM! I love plum syrup on pancakes, and it would make a great holiday gift in little jars with a ribbon tied around them!
YES! It’s my favorite on pancakes or these bisquick waffles! I agree, they’d make a great gift. Use a clear jar because the color of the syrup is so pretty! Great suggestion Tammy!
Don’t forget to use almond extract as a flavoring too!!
That’s right! I did do a batch with almond extract. It was yummy! I also did a batch with vanilla…but that was a cherry syrup. Same process, different fruit!