Drowning in Plums? Make Plum Wine

This year Home & Hearth has finally taken shape and one commitment I made was unless I had something really worth sharing I did not want to add to the overly crowded blogosphere. But here is the problem, no one is making Plum Wine or talking about making great Christmas Pudding. Yes, these things fill me with so much excitement I can hardly contain it. Not to share this knowlege and the ease in which these glorious items can be made seems downright criminal. It has become abundantly clear to me that while everyone and their brother is watching Food Network and HGTV, the percentage of people actually cooking is rather low, simply because some of the stuff is so daunting. So without further ado, lets make some plum wine people! Its super simple, you have the stuff at home and if you are anything like me you will have cracked into the first jar well before it ready because its tasty and your excited to drink the fruits of your labor.

While Plum wine may be a rather new concept here in the states, this stuff has been around in Japan for years. Umeshu plum wine is fruit that has been fermented in a distilled spirit. In 1697, the “Honcho-Shokkan” book of Japanese cuisine was written and Umeshu shows up. Most notably described as a, “… medicinal agent that stops the accumulation of phlegm, relieves parched and sore throats, and dissolves poisons,” this beverage was quite the hit. Additionally, in the last 300 + years this elixir has been used to treat cholera, intestinal issues, and various other maladies.

Now that we have had our history lesion and you are all yawning, let’s make some plum wine. Traditional umeshu uses a particular ume plum but since you may have an abundance of plums in season locally, please use those and embrace the variety. I chose to use emperor plums since we were drowning in them at the farmer’s market.

What you will need:

3 Cups of Sugar

3 lbs of Plums

750 ml of a good vodka

  1. Wash and dry those plums. Meanwhile, wash the jars that will be used for the fermentation. Plain 1 Pint Ball canning jars are what I had on hand and I used 5. If your new to the sterilization game, throw those bad boys in the oven for 15-20 minutes or place them in some boiling water and let them go. If you are feeling particularly lazy and will be fermenting in the fridge, throw an ounce of alcohol in the jars, put the lid on and give them a shake then dump out.
  1. Next layer plums and sugar in jars until all are stuffed in. If you use smaller jars (1pts) you will notice fruit and sugar will come to the top of jars.
  1. Fill jars ¾ full with vodka. The plums are going to relax over the next few months and really let themselves go. When they do they are going to get juicy and that needs some room to expand.
  1. Screw those lids on, date the jars, shake until sugar is dissolved, and throw in the fridge. Shake periodically over the next week to incorporate any sugar that has settled. By the end of the first week of fermentation all sugar had dissolved.
  1. Wait a minimum of 3 months preferably a year. Although I say this with a smile. While this truly is something to behold at around year one filled with richness and complexity of flavor. This beverage has this floral quality that’s equally as appealing when mixed with some seltzer at around the 2-month mark. If your feeling wild, live a little and crack open a jar. Hence the beauty of a 5 jar fermentation. If you crack one you don’t disturb the rest.