Homemade Plum & Tomato Sauce | HOMEGROWN KITCHEN

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.

Homemade Plum & Tomato Sauce | HOMEGROWN KITCHEN

Homemade Plum & Tomato Sauce | HOMEGROWN KITCHEN

Homemade Plum & Tomato Sauce | HOMEGROWN KITCHEN

Homemade Plum & Tomato Sauce | HOMEGROWN KITCHEN


Join the Conversation

  1. Sounds like a brave move but I’m sure you won’t regret it – and sounds like your business will be in good hands. Thanks for the recipe….nice to have a low sugar & vinegar sauce – had been wondering about that!

    1. Nicola Author says:

      Thanks Nicky, it is one of things I haven’t regretted and look forward to new opportunities in the future (when the children are a little older). Enjoy the sauce 🙂

  2. Sounds like great plum sauce, Nicola – think I will have to give that one a try – might have to see if I can get some plums at the market tomorrow. Totally understand about trying to get by on a “fragile” and limited income, but I loving trying to stretch that a bit further by eating food from the garden and making things from scratch. I got the preserving pans out last weekend too and made a yellow tomato conserve and a tomato basil jam – house smelled amazing. Also managed to make some mascarpone. Going to try feta this weekend.

    Was so lovely to catch up with you last week. Hope to do it again sometime.

    1. Hi Sue, yes it defintely makes me more creative with the food we buy and the garden produce.
      Yum, your preserving sounds delish, I esp. like the sound of tomato basil jam.
      I read your post about the mascarpone, went and bought some cream to give it a go.
      Good luck with the feta x

  3. Hi Nicky,
    I made this sauce yesterday, and it’s fantastic, thanks so much for the awesome recipe! 🙂 As I currently have an abundance of tomatoes, I was wondering about a relish, are they just as esy to make? The Edmonds cookbook has a recipe but it seems like a lot of vinegar and sugar, as I’ve never made relish before, can they be cut down like you did in your plum sauce?

    You have a great blog and I love reading your recipes and try a lot of them as well, really appreciate the time you take to post them, thanks


    1. Hi Angela, that is awesome I am glad the sauce worked out. It is really good, we have already used it with quiche and at a BBQ.
      Yes you would be able to reduce the sugar and vinegar as I have for the tomato chutney. I just looked at the recipe and I think we would be OK with 1 cup sugar and 1 cup vinegar. As it has the raisins you could even get away with no added sugar. Though taste before you bottle and decide if it needs more sugar added. If you add no sugar just remember to keep it in the fridge once opened and use within a month of opening.
      Thanks for your feedback 🙂 I really enjoy putting together my blog/ recipe post each week. It is making be a lot more creative in the kitchen, not just the same old. Thanks for making the time to comment 🙂

  4. What a shame all our plums are finished, this looks delicious!

    Re your life choices, I felt so privileged to be home with my children when they were little. It is such a precious time and they do grow so quick!! My eldest is heading into the teen years now and it feels like yesterday that she was just starting school. The memories that you are creating by cooking and gardening with, and nurturing your children now will last you all a lifetime. That’s worth so much more than money, I think. Best of luck with your journey 🙂

    1. Thanks Samantha, for your lovely words. It feels like a very ‘right’ decision for me at this time.

  5. I made this sauce & it’s fantastic! I used italian prune plums & added some fresh hot peppers. Will be a nice condiment with meats, stir fry, & Asian rice & noodle dishes.

    1. Lovely MJ. I like to use hot peppers too but have to be careful for the little mouths around here.

  6. I just made this sauce,is it suppose to be quite tart?Quite vinegary taste.Would it be because i burnt it a tad on the bottom?

    1. Hi there, it is a savoury sauce so should be a balance of salty, sour (tart) and sweet. A burnt sauce will be bitter but could also taste tart. You could try adding extra sugar or honey to balance the flavour. It will also depend on the sweetness of the fruit used. I hope that helps.

  7. Hi, I was wondering if I can swap the sugar for honey or coconut sugar and how much would I use, I am trying to avoid sugar, thanks Siobhan

    1. Hi Siobhan, yes you can use the same quantity [1 cup] coconut sugar or 3/4 cup honey [it is sweeter] in exchange for the sugar. The flavour will be a little different with these sweeteners especially honey but it will still be delicious!

  8. Sarah Woods says:

    Hi Nicola, I tried your sauce today, but didn’t have any raisins so I substituted with craisins instead. Also, in the end instead of straining it all out I whisked it all up and turned into a chutney. Tasted good while still warm, but will try it again properly tomorrow when it has cooled down. Thanks for the recipe 🙂

    1. Sounds good Sarah. I am sure it would be lovely as a chutney too, and the craisins would add an interesting twist to the flavour 🙂

  9. Hi, I’m sensitive to tomatoes. Do you think this recipe would work if I replaced the tomatoes with more plums? Or with something else? Thanks!

    1. Hi Anna, I haven’t tried this recipe without tomatoes so I am not sure how it would be work out. However, you could certainly try with all plums (make sure they are fleshy not overly juicy) and the sugar and vinegar quantity may need to be adjusted to taste. And depending on the plums the cooking time could vary so you will need to go with your instinct here. If you get a chance let me know how it turns out 🙂

      1. Ok, thanks for your reply. I might make a half recipe and see how it goes – I’ll let you know. Hey when is your new recipe book coming out?

        1. Hi Anna, sorry I just found your reply :-/
          My new book is officially launched 1st April with pre-orders available soon and shipped end of March. Can’t wait to share more details soon!

  10. Oooohhhhhh just had a wee taste of this while it’s cooking away. Soooooo good!!!!! Thank you xo

    1. Hi Jeanette, wonderful! I hope you enjoy the sauce 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Nicola Galloway Homegrown Kitchen © Copyright 2023. All rights reserved.