Did you feel it? Last weekend, that nip in the air that signals autumn is on the way? It’s a distant memory now, as I contemplate preserving 40 lbs of peaches in my humid, 88-degree kitchen, but over the weekend there was a definite autumnal crispness to the night air, and temps dipped into the 50’s for the first time in a long while. I love all the seasons, but I’ve always loved Fall the best (and not just because I’m a September baby): the crisp, bundle-up-in-a-sweater and drink-hot-cocoa weather; the riotous color display of fall foliage in New England; the back-to-school excitement in the air. Not to mention the food: pumpkin soup and caramel apples, cranberry nut bread and cider doughnuts, roasted turkey and all the trimmings.
Although I’m thoroughly enjoying the height of summer produce that is spilling from CSAs, farm stands and pick-your-own orchards all over my neighborhood, I’ll admit to being excited about Fall. And that little nip in the air must have inspired my imagination, at least subconsciously, because I (literally) dreamt this preserve up the other night. My friend Nadine (of the volunteer tomato fame) gifted me with some gorgeous organic golden plums from her CSA when she visited the other day and I have been musing on what to do with them. I woke up on Saturday morning with this recipe, fully formed, in my head. (Like almost everything I make), Tai thinks this would be awesome over ice cream. I, however, envision it over roasted pork, or maybe seared duck breasts; dolloped as a fancy garni on top of a pumpkin & orzo stew, or swirled into yogurt and served with roasted root vegetables. Summer fruit, roasted with savory herbs and balanced with sweet honey; autumn is just around the corner.
Roasted Golden Plums with Honey & Sage
- 1 and 1/4 lbs golden plums (about 35 tiny plums), unpeeled
- about 3/4 cup honey
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
- 1 bunch fresh sage
- 1 cup filtered water
- 2 tbsp white balsamic vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.
- Rinse the plums. Slice each plum around the perimeter, then twist to split in half. Scoop pit out of one half with a small spoon and place both halves, cut side up, on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining plums (my plums just filled one baking sheet).
- Drizzle a tiny dollop of honey, just enough to fill the center hole, in each plum half. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper.
- Lay fresh sage, on the stem, over the top of the plums; spread the leaves out a bit to try to cover as many plums as possible. (I used 9 stems; if canning, reserve a few perfect leaves to add to jars). Roast the plums until very soft and just beginning to brown at the edges, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven; remove and discard the sage stems & leaves and reserve the plums (a few bits of roasted sage leaf will stick to the plums; this is fine).
- If canning, prepare canner, jars and lids.
- Combine 1 cup of water, 1/2 cup honey and 2 tbsp of vinegar in a heavy-bottomed jam pot or Dutch oven. Bring to a boil over high heat; continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid thickens to a syrup, bubbles thickly, and reads 220 degrees F on a thermometer. Add the plums (include any juices left in the pan). Return to a boil and cook until the mixture thickens and a spoon dragged across the bottom of the pot leaves a clean stripe and/or the preserve reaches 220 degrees F.
- Ladle into hot, sterilized jars, to which you have added one perfect sage leaf, to 1/4-inch headspace and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes, or simply transfer to a heat-safe bowl or jar and store refrigerated.
Yields about 1 and 1/2 cups.
- This recipe can be 100% local with homemade vinegar and ground dried chile pepper.
- This was a very small batch; the recipe could easily be doubled, or even tripled.
- The vinegar in this recipe is for taste, not for canning safety (as plums are safely acidic on their own) so may be safely omitted if you choose (or you can use a vinegar that is less than 5% acetic acid).
Canned, store in a cool, dark spot for up to 1 year. Refrigerated, use within 1 month.