Sally Wise’s Plum Sauce


This year, through some miracle of miracles, the birds left some plums for us.  Whether it was conscious or whether they just missed them, I don’t know.  Of course, as happens with every variety of fruit and vegetable in the garden, they all ripened at once.  There was not a huge amount but certainly more than we would eat.  I put them in the cool room (along with the 1,000 passionfruit) until I could decide what to do with them. We are not big jam eaters so jam was not an option.  We do, however, eat a bit of sauce.  Plum sauce it would be then.

Our plums are greengage plums.  They are a small, round, very sweet, green plum.

Because I have so many cookbooks, I had quite a few recipes for plum sauce but none of my recipes used greengage plums.  I went on-line but still no luck.  I decided to choose any plum sauce recipe that appealed and make it with greengage plums.  Today’s recipe called for “damsons or other dark plums” but it worked perfectly with my little sweet green babies.  I was very happy with the colour.  If you use damsons or other dark plums, I am sure the colour would be even deeper.

I made this recipe a while back and took photos of the resultant jars but a photo of 8 jars of brown sauce is not that enticing.  I decided to wait until I could come up with a better photo.  I thought a piece of steak dipped in the sauce would be ideal but we don’t often eat steak.  As a result, there has been a delay in this post.

Today’s recipe is a Sally Wise recipe from her book, A Year in a Bottle.  I chose it because it sounded very simple.  The recipe says to place all the ingredients in a large saucepan.  “I could do that,” I thought.  The recipe did not say to cut the plums in half nor take out the pips, so I didn’t.  At first, I was really worried that I should have, but the plums burst open and eventually mingled with the other ingredients.

I recommend the recipe.  My only misgiving is you can taste the cloves.   If you find that a bit disconcerting, you may wish to reduce the amount of ground cloves by a half  teaspoon.

Makes between 2.5 and 3 litres.


  • 3kg damson or other dark plums, washed (or greengage plums 🙂 )
  • 1.5kg sugar
  • 6 cups cider vinegar
  • 500g onion, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 1 tbs* fresh ginger, grated
  • 3 tsp ground allspice
  • 2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • juice 1 lemon

*This is a 20 mil tablespoon.


  1. Place all ingredients in a large saucepan and stir over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is boiling.
  2. Continue to boil for two hours or until the mixture is thick.  Stir often.
  3. Press the mixture through a mouli, coarse sieve etc.
  4. Return the sauce to the saucepan and bring back to the boil.
  5. Pour into sterilised bottles and seal immediately.

According to Sally, the sauce will keep in the pantry for up to 2 years.


10 thoughts on “Sally Wise’s Plum Sauce

  1. Your sauce looks delish. I’m a fan of Sally Wise. Her plum based worcestershire sauce is very popular with the G.O., friends and family, so much so I had to make a double batch this year… and next year I will probably do it twice! I love that all the ingredients go into a pot and come out sauce! I have made a couple of attempts at replicating a chilli plum sauce I bought at Braidwood markets, maybe Sally Wise can help me out there.

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