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an easy one

Recipe: plum ketchup

This past July, I was interviewed via Skype by Gabriel Soh for The Dinner Special podcast. Despite being in the depths of puppy training sleep deprivation, I am moderately coherent. If you’d like to have a listen, hop on over to the interview, but do come back for the recipe!

I suppose that whole adolescence regression episode was bound to happen when I would be alone with Neva. Things that used to not bother her now bother her. Trying to put her harness on has become quite an ordeal – like bargaining with someone who doesn’t speak your language. It’s come down to manhandling her to put the harness on so we can go outside to do the thing she loves most… which is to go outside. Once outside, Neva acts like she’s never seen a human being, a dog, a cat, a leaf, a car, a bike, ANYTHING before in her life and she flips out like she’s going to die if she doesn’t run up and jump on its head. I found myself wondering if Kaweah had been this difficult as a puppy because my memory of her is dominated by the sweet, gentle, and calm senior dog she was most recently. I’m pretty sure Kaweah made me crazier than Neva makes me – just in different ways. I’m also thinking that it may be the 10 days of heavily reduced activity. Maybe she’s gone off the deep end without her regular exercise? I get that way, too.


she’s probably ready for longer walks



The colors that I can see from the walks around the neighborhood are on their way out, or rather, the leaves are falling. Swaths of gold mantling the hillsides are giving way to the silent gray stands that will last us through May. Most of my photographer pals migrated south to the San Juans earlier this week (but not before I fed some of them peach pie cinnamon rolls!). I’ll not be in on that action this year. It’s just me, Neva, and whatever I can snap when I have a random moment.

a cathedral of gold

fingers of color intermingled with conifers



This week appears to have a common theme in my recipes – fruit at the end of its season. On the same trip to the farm store when I got those peaches and my second batch of tomatoes, I picked up something else on impulse. While waiting for the tomatoes to be loaded into a box and weighed, I walked over to the table that had the peaches. As I picked out four pounds of peaches, I smelled what can only be described as candy. Putting a peach to my nose, I took a whiff, but it wasn’t the peach. Looking around at the baskets of fruit, I flew in low and inhaled, eventually honing in on a basket of tiny golf ball-sized plums. The fellow sorting the tomatoes told me that the plums not only smelled like candy, but tasted like candy, too. I bought 2 pounds. I knew I wanted to make plum ketchup, but I made sure I had extras for snacking on straight up. Once in the car, I rubbed one clean on my shirt and took a bite – which was half of the plum, but could have easily been the whole fruit. It was like no plum I had ever tasted before.

these are bubblegum plums



I emailed the farm to find out what variety of plum I had stuffed into my pie hole and they responded that these are bubblegum plums from the western slope – western Colorado – where our luscious peaches are grown. My intention was to make plum ketchup with the Italian plums that my Costco carries around now, but they had yet to show up. Short on time, I used my bubblegums on the ketchup recipe while popping a couple of the extra plums for a snack. This plum ketchup is much easier than my tomato ketchup recipe. You can use most any variety.

brown sugar, ginger, plums, cayenne pepper, black pepper, onion, garlic, cinnamon stick, salt, cider vinegar

dice the plums

ready to purée and cook




To purée the fruit and aromatics, I first used a food processor. The end result was a slightly chunky ketchup, which I was on the fence about. I decided to give it a blitz in my Vitamix blender which turned it into a lovely, smooth ketchup. So if you like more texture in your ketchup, then use the food processor. I’m definitely a happy resident of the smooth ketchup camp. Anyway, it’s basically a matter of puréeing the plums, onion, garlic, and ginger, then placing all of the ingredients in a pot to simmer for 30 minutes.

purée the plums, onion, ginger, and garlic

food processor results in chunkier texture, use a good blender for smoother ketchup

place everything in a medium saucepan

simmer for 30 minutes

here it is after i sent it through the vitamix



My plum ketchup ended up a little on the sweet side, probably because of the incredible sweetness of the original bubblegum plums which are an order of magnitude sweeter than Italian plums. Next time I’ll either use Italian plums or reduce sugar if I use bubblegum plums. Still, it was a refreshingly bright and complex ketchup – different from what I’m used to, but deliciously so. If you’re looking to change up your normal routine, give plum ketchup a try. It’s fast, easy, fun, and tasty.

plum delicious



Plum Ketchup
[print recipe]
modified from this recipe

1 to 1.5 lbs. plums, pitted and quartered
2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 medium onion, quartered
2 tbsps peeled ginger, chopped
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1 cinnamon stick
1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Place the plums, garlic, onion, and ginger in a food processor or blender and purée. Place the purée in a medium saucepan with the rest of the ingredients. Stir to combine. Bring the ketchup to a boil over high heat then reduce to a simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Let cool and refrigerate for up to 2 months. Makes 3 to 3.5 cups.


more goodness from the use real butter archives

homemade ketchup spiced plum jam tomato jam membrillo (quince paste)

13 nibbles at “an easy one”

  1. melisa says:

    after reading your journey for a couple of years, I finally get to hear your voice…
    a very enjoyable interview… :)

  2. Tori says:

    Plum ketchup sounds amazing!

  3. Kristin says:

    Thoroughly enjoyed the interview and the ketchup is beautiful! Hope Neva is just going through a temporary phase.

  4. Rami @ Tasteaholics says:

    Really cool ketchup recipe :) Pinned!

  5. shailey gb says:

    I have tried some lux ketchups before, and sometimes it’s wonderful and sometimes too floral. What would you suggest trying this one on to get it’s absolute best? I feel like maybe a turkey sandwich (although I wouldn’t add ketchup, but I would add plum chutney) or as a glaze on meatballs or meatloaf?

  6. Sherry Ann says:

    When my dog Pi was six months old, I took her to Petsmart Puppy Classes. She learned a lot! I LEARNED A LOT! She enjoyed being around the other dogs and learned new commands like, ‘Leave it!’ Maybe Neva would like to go to some puppy classes! Meet new friends and make new buds!!

  7. Cat says:

    Jen, this post reminded me of something – I’ve seen you mention (in previous posts) doing a “fall shoot” – what does that entail? I understand you’re a freelance photographer, but is a fall shoot just taking photos of fall scenery? Or are you working for a client for a particular project? Just curious as I’ve been wondering for a while!

    I’ve actually never heard of plum ketchup, but those plums look gorgeous so I can only imagine that the ketchup was wonderful too!

  8. Irmi says:

    Great interview and great to hear your voice and to see you act life. Thank you very much for sharing. I had to use the written version too, of course (made it much easier for me to understand) – it was nice to find it there too.
    The “Cathedral of Gold” is just gorgeous.
    I checked your instagram site for the first time – stunning pics. Wow. So great. And I tried to check your favoured “foodpornographer” on instagram too: Is that right that there, on instagram, are no recipes available? No links at all? Isn’t it a pity to see all those beautiful food photographs and dishes and not having any chance to get to the recipes? Or is there a secret hint for that? Could not find any recipe of Kelly Cline. I’m afraid, this instagram thing is not really my thing… I’m glad to “have” your blog though… :-)

  9. Shari Q. says:

    Can I ask what you would use this on?

  10. debbie says:

    I really enjoyed the interview. Nice to put a voice to the face! I have my puppy for about a year and a half now and he has not calmed down much. My dog which passed away last year was 10 so she was a senior. Big difference! This little guy DEMANDS my time!!!!!

  11. Liz says:

    I have a goldendoodle puppy – 8 months old, 65lbs (!!) – and completely sympathize with your Neva battles. Captain (my sweet pup) loves to play tugga (tug-of-war) with his leash on every walk. And as you know, with puppies, we take a lot of walks!

    But my goodness, aren’t puppies just the cutest!

  12. Links: Plum Ketchup, Roasted Tomatoes, and Winners - Food in Jars says:

    […] Plum ketchup! You might still be able to get some end of season plums for this one. […]

  13. jenyu says:

    melisa – awww, thanks! xo

    Tori – it’s pretty awesome (and a little different).

    Kristin – Neva seems to go through many phases a day ;)

    Rami – thanks!

    shailey – yes, I think meats or even with meatballs would be great. Sandwiches, roasts, maybe with sweet potato fries?

    Sherry Ann – we finally have a place for Neva to go for daycare (once a week or so) for socialization. I think the hard part was that most won’t take her until she’s been spayed for obvious reasons, so we’ve had to wait until now. The wait was pretty trying ;)

    Cat – Oh, the “fall shoot” is when all pro and hobby photographers swarm the western half of the state of Colorado and hunt for great photography opportunities while the aspens are at their height in color. I do this independently to build up my gallery, share what I see, and sell prints. It involves a lot of driving, hiking, schlepping of gear, and waiting for sunrise and sunset and snowstorms, etc. I love it.

    Irmi – yes, Instagram only allows one link in your profile, so mine is just userealbutter.com. Some folks actively change their link with each new post, but I find that to be annoying if you find an old post that says “link in profile” and you go to the profile and the link is to something else. But Kelly’s blog is nommynom.com, although I don’t think it’s as active as her IG account. IG took me a while to get used to, but I like it more and more each day – it’s a simpler way of interacting.

    Shari – yes! Roasted meats, sandwiches, use it for cocktail meatballs or meatloaf.

    debbie – I know, it’s such a big shift in responsibilities and energy to go from an aging pup to a new crazy spastic puppy :)

    Liz – so true! xo

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