This spiced plum pickle with its hint of ginger goes particularly well with a plate of charcuterie, or Christmas cooked ham, sliced thick from the bone.
Prick the plums or damsons with a needle and arrange in a roasting tin or flameproof casserole in layers no more than two or three deep, so that the weight of the fruit above does not squash the lowest layer.
Place the sugar in a pan with the vinegar and all the spices, including the ginger. Stir over a medium heat until the sugar has dissolved, then bring to the boil. Simmer for 5 minutes and pour over the fruit. Place over a direct heat and bring back to the boil. Leave to cool for 8 hours or overnight.
Strain off the syrup into a pan and pack the fruit into clean jars. Bring the syrup to the boil and boil hard until reduced by a third. Strain and pour over the fruit. Cover and seal while still hot. Keep for at least a month in a cool, dark place before using.
© 1990 Joyce Molyneux. All rights reserved.