Pickled Plums and Onions (Home Canning Recipe)

Pickled Plums and Onions (Home Canning Recipe) Recipe

Lulu and the girls gathered 4 large baskets of plums from our garden. I'm the only one who enjoys eating them fresh due to their sour-tasting skin, even though the flesh is sweet.

Instead of making my usual sweet fresh fruit preserves, I decided to pair the plums with the last crop of Creole onions and make plum and onion pickles.

Pickling fruit and vegetables is a lot easier that you might imagine. I made a sweet and sour brine out of white balsamic vinegar and agave nectar in which to submerge the fruits and vegetables. I added several spices such as juniper berries, a bay leaf, clove, garlic and cardamom seeds.

I let the food cure for about 6 weeks. Check back soon and see what I serve the pickles with!


Yields: 1(1-liter) jar

2 cups plums
2 cups Creole onions
1-½ cups white balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup agave nectar
1 tablespoon salt
2 cloves garlic, cut in thirds
1 fresh bay leaf, torn in half
1 teaspoon pink, green and black peppercorn medley
½ teaspoon mustard seeds
½ teaspoon juniper berries
4 cloves
2 green cardamom pods


The day before...

Trim both ends of the onions. Remove the stalks and reserve them for another dish (they are very flavorful). Peel the onions.

Pack the onions in a jar. Sprinkle with salt and cover with water, Allow to cure for a day (up to 18 hours).

The next day.

Canning the jar:

Drain the liquid, rinse and drain one more time. 

In a saucepan, combine the vinegar and agave nectar. Bring to a boil, then immediately reduce the heat to a gentle simmer for 10 minutes. Allow the mixture to cool.

While the brine is simmering, fill a deep saucepan and bring to just under a boil. Place a 1-liter jar, lid, heat-proof funnel and tongs in the pot and boil for 10 minutes. Be sure to read the instructions that come with the jar. They'll give you exact time and techniques.

Remove the jar from the water. 

Place the onions in the jar.

Wash the plums. Cut the fruit in half and use your fingers to remove the pits.

In a mortar and pestle, crush the pods of cardamoms and extract the black seeds.

Add the bay leaf, garlic, peppercorns, mustard seeds, cloves, cardamom seeds and juniper berries to the jar. Complete and fill the jar with the halved plums. Tightly pack them. Fill the jar with the brine to cover the food, leaving about ¼-inch of head space or whatever your canning directions say.

Carefully place the lid on the jar, using a magnet (see tips). Tighten the collar around the jar. Bring your large pot of water to a boil and place the sealed jar in it for 10 minutes.

Remove the jar from the water. If the top of the lid still pops, the vacuum didn't form and you'll need to consume the pickles in the next several weeks, storing it in the refrigerator. Otherwise you can safely store it in your pantry for up to a year. 

For optimal flavor, allow about 6 weeks before opening the jar.



To insure good sterilization of the product, I stack a dozen magnets together to create a stick and use it as a gripper to place the lid on the jar without touching them. Just make sure the magnets are clean!White Balsamic Vinegar Photo

I chose white balsamic vinegar for its strong flavor and because I wanted the pickles to keep their natural color.

I used a fresh bay leaf from the garden. I recommend not using the dried version as it might cloud the pickling liquid.

Bay leaf

I used Creole onions from our vegetable garden. You could use pearl onions instead.

Creole Onion Recipe with Picture

For best results, I used fruits that we just harvested, so the plums were firm.

For more condiment recipes, check out the other chutneys and preserves.

Published By: Jacqueline Pham on August 9, 2010.


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