Chinese-Style Plum Sauce

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes


    half pint jars

Appears in

The Art of Preserving

The Art of Preserving

By Lisa Atwood, Rebecca Courchesne and Rick Field

Published 2012

  • About

The vibrant hue of this sweet-spicy condiment comes from the peels left on the plums during the first stage of cooking. For a lighter-colored sauce, substitute ripe green plums. Serve as an accompaniment to crisp-skinned Chinese duck, roast pork loin, or Asian-style spareribs.


  • 4 lb (2 kg) plums
  • 2 lb (1 kg) peaches
  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 small chiles such as serrano, seeded, if desired, and finely chopped
  • ½ jarred roasted red (bell) pepper (capsicum)
  • 1 Tbsp peeled and grated fresh ginger
  • cups (12 fl oz/375 ml) rice vinegar
  • 2 cups (1 lb/500 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (7 oz/220 g) firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Chinese five-spice powder, or to taste
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice


Have ready hot, sterilized jars and their lids.

Halve and pit each plum, and cut each half in half. Blanch and peel the peaches, then halve and pit. Slice the peach halves.

In a large nonreactive saucepan over medium-low heat, warm the oil. Add the onion and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, chiles, bell pepper, ginger, and ½ cup (4 fl oz/125 ml) of the vinegar. Stir in the plums and peaches. Add 1 cup (8 fl oz/250 ml) water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the onion and fruit are tender, about 25 minutes.

Pass the plum mixture through a food mill or coarse-mesh sieve set over a bowl. Transfer to a large nonreactive saucepan. Stir in both sugars, the remaining 1 cup vinegar, five-spice powder, and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook, uncovered, stirring often, until thick, 20–30 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice.

Ladle the hot sauce into the jars, leaving ¼ inch (6 mm) of headspace. Remove any air bubbles and adjust the headspace, if necessary. Wipe the rims clean and seal tightly with the lids.

Process the jars for 10 minutes in a boiling-water bath (for detailed instructions, including cooling and testing seals, Canning Step by Step). The sealed jars can be stored in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year. If a seal has failed, store the jar in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.