Homemade Plum & Tomato Sauce
- 3 kg plums ideally use fleshy plums; I used a combo of Omega and yellow Elephant Heart; stones removed and roughly chopped
- 1 kg apples; roughly chopped including skins and cores, these will be strained out
- 12 Roma tomatoes approx 800g; roughly chopped
- 4 medium onions; roughly chopped
- a whole garlic bulb; squashed peeled and roughly chopped
- small knob of fresh ginger root; finely grated
- 1 cup malt vinegar or apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 1 cup raisins
- 1 cup unrefined golden or raw sugar
- 3 teaspoons ground cloves
- 1 star anise optional
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper optional
- Prepare the fruit, tomatoes, onions, garlic and ginger, and put into a large heavy-based pot (or two pots if it won't all fit into one). Add the remaining ingredients, and boil (make sure it is a gently rolling boil rather than a quiet simmer) for 2 hours until pulpy. Cool a little then use a mouli (see photo below) or press through a strainer to separate out the the sauce from the chunky bits. If needed, return to the heat to reduce to desired thickness - think pourable tomato sauce. For this stage simmer very gently, stirring frequently, and watch that the sauce doesn't catch on the bottom. Keep in mind the sauce will thicken a tad as it cools. Read on for bottling instructions...
Sterilising Jars/ Bottles
While the sauce is hot, bottle it into sterilised jars/ bottles. You will need about 4 or 5 x 750ml clean jars as I have used below. I have used ‘grolsch’ beer bottles in the past with the groovy lids but the jars I used this time are much more user friendly to get the sauce out. To sterilise the jars sit them on a chopping board (the kitchen bench maybe too cold) and fill with just boiled water right to the top. Put the lids in a bowl and cover with boiling water also. Sit for 1 minute then pour out the water and air dry on a dish rack for 1 minute. Fill immediately with the hot sauce using a funnel to avoid spillages. Secure the lids tightly and leave to cool on the bench. As the sauce cools it will create a suction to invert the ‘pop button’ on the lid and create a secure seal to avoid spoilage. Store in a cool, dark place and use within one year. Serve a dollop with quiche, pies, roastie chips and dare I say, good old kiwi fish & chips.
As I sat watching my children quietly eating their lunch I knew I had made the right decision. Last year I had been busy, too busy, and I felt like these precious years of my children being young were slipping away from me. While I ran around wearing too many hats – the mother, the partner, the business owner, the author – my children were growing up. Something had to give, and running a business came up on top.
Selling a business is not an easy decision to make, it is like quitting a job, more so in a way because it is something we had build up from nothing. For 7 1/2 years I worked in partnership with local organic grower Wolfgang Mann, to grow, source, pack and deliver boxes of organic produce to homes around the top of the South Island (New Zealand). It was a business that resonated with my belief in supporting local growers and producers and keeping food miles minimal.
And it was a good business, I had put all my passion and energy into it in the early years, and it had grown and been supported well. However, after the birth of my second child Teo last February, my energy and enthusiasm for the business began to wain. When Wolfgang decided to sell his farm (he has been growing organic produce for over 20 years) I knew it was time for both of us to move on.
So this weekend with my extra time and energy I made a batch of plum and tomato sauce to see us through the coming year. And the exciting part is that almost all of the fresh ingredients came from our own backyard. My daughter Mika loves helping me in the kitchen so I set her up removing the stones from the plums once I had cut them in half (and she ate a fair few too). For all of Sunday our house was intoxicated with the smell of simmering plum sauce.