September 18, 2010

Fiery Plum Conserve

One day I shall pay for this sweet sugar addiction of mine

Purple is definitely the colour trend of the season over here. As autumn approaches, every clothes shop is bursting at the seams with plums, violets and amethysts. Not only does this make choosing clothes really difficult, but it also fills my mind with thoughts of seasonal produce and autumn flavours. That’s right, I think about food when I shop for clothes. There’s something seriously wrong there.

plum conserve 1

I felt the urge to jump on the purple preserve bandwagon after Mr. P of Delicious Delicious Delicious made a stunning blackberry jam from a portion of the 5kg of sugar he found on his doorstep one morning (here’s the story). Regardless of the fact that there is a distinct lack of freebies coming my way (gosh, I’m so bitter), P’s jam looked so divine that I had to follow suit.

I think that aniseed adds an extra dimension to both sweet and savoury dishes. It’s deep, liquorice-like flavour provides sweet dishes with a savoury edge, and savoury dishes with a subtle sweetness. Clever little spice.

With this conserve you can be as imaginative as you like. Spread it on toast for breakfast, water it down with lemon juice to use as vinaigrette for warm new potatoes, or even fold some into dark chocolate ganache and chill in espresso cups for a rich chocolate pudding with a bite.

I love opposing flavours, and the spicy anise and red chillies provide that little tingle of heat needed against the sour plums and sweet sugar. This combination will set your mouth on fire. Not literally. Well at least I hope not anyway.

Fiery Plum Conserve
(Makes enough for you to share with the neighbours)


6 cups ripe purple plums, stoned and cut into quarters (that’s 6 cups of quartered plums, not whole)
4 cups granulated sugar
2 hot red chillies, chopped finely
3 star anise
½ tsp salt
2 tsp butter (optional)


1. Place everything except the butter in a large, heavy based pan and heat on a low flame until some juice begins to seep from the plums. Do not add water to it no matter how much you want to.

2. When there is some juice in the pan, increase the heat and boil vigorously until the conserve reaches a lightly set point. To test this, remove the pan from the heat, place a spoonful onto a very cold plate (put one in the freezer for a little while). After a couple of seconds push it with your finger and if the top ever so slightly wrinkles then your conserve is ready. If it is too runny you won’t able to do this and you’ll need to boil it for longer. Keep testing it often. It needs to be slightly runnier than a jam but much thicker than a syrup.

3. Whisk the butter (if using) and dollop into sterilised jars. This keeps for 2-4 weeks in the fridge. If it lasts that long.

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22 responses to “Fiery Plum Conserve”

  1. Kulsum@JourneyKitchen says:

    this looks divine.Not that I have seen too many plums around here, but I got to make some kind of conserve now !

  2. Tania says:

    Very interesting combo!

  3. Trix says:

    I see you are making excellent use of those figs!!

  4. says:

    Lovely fruity jam looks devine.

  5. Jay says:

    Wow…wat a marvellous clicks…Amazing recipe…

  6. Pushpa says:

    Great fruit jam with a nice touch of heat and spice…

    Pushpa @

  7. notyet100 says:

    drooling here,..;-)

  8. Premalatha Aravindhan says:

    wounderfull clicks dear,mouthwatering…conserve sounds too gud.

  9. Ushnish Ghosh says:

    Dear Sanjana
    One thing I can tell for sure, you will not pay for sugar addiction someday…just keep eating ..I am still continuing for last several decades.
    You think of food while shopping ..LOL..There is something seriously right with you..I also cant stop thinking about food while carrying out complex chemical plant design or review of safety aspects..
    Great recipe. The plum season is over here. We too make HOT sweet and sour jam or chutney…but never used Star anise before..will be great ..
    Have a nice sunday

  10. Sharmilee! :) says:

    Beautiful clicks and the jam…looks and sounds interesting

  11. Mr. P says:

    I want some of that!

    I think I am going to make some more jam soon. I want to do a peach and raspberry one so that in the winter I have something that tastes summery, but haven't got myself together enough to do that yet!

    Bravo for doing it without pectin added sugar. I live in fear since I made a marmalade that I boiled into invert syrup. Not. Particularly. Good. Stuff.

  12. Lauren says:

    Wow! This is the sort of conserve I would give my Dad for Christmas, and obviously keep some for myself. I know you are vegetarian but I can imagine this would also be perfect as a side for pork or chicken.

  13. astheroshe says:

    I just started to learn how to JAm and preserve. I love this recipe 🙂 Thanks for sharing 🙂

  14. Xiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets says:

    Looks delicious, Sanjana! I never thought of jam being so spicy but I already know I'd love it.

  15. Priya says:

    Tongue tickling conserve…irresistible..

  16. Apu says:

    Looks delicious!! I love plums any which way:)

  17. Isabelle says:

    What a gorgeous colour! I love spiced plum jam, though I've never thought to add chilies for heat… the idea of sweet and spicy sounds amazing, though. I will definitely have to try this out next time I make a batch of jam!

  18. Anukampa says:

    great work sanjana..Jam looks so yummy and appealing..nice explanation too

  19. Ragini Miranda's Kitchen says:

    Really nice recipe ,looks great too !

  20. Indie.Tea says:

    What a unique rendition of plum conserves! Love the addition of chilis and star anise…

  21. meeso says:

    Oh my goodness, I wish I had the patience and could take pictures like that!

  22. Samarpita says:

    Hit your kitchen for the first time today while trolling. The picture looked killer and I had 5 plums sitting in the fridge. So I had to make it. It is so perfect! And this is from a person who can spend a month without eating anything remotely sweet. Had it inside pita bread for evening snack and with idlis as a dessert.

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