Friday, July 20, 2012

Pickled Prunes

My google doc with lists of what to pack for school is getting a little ridiculous. Coffee mugs, towels, nail polish, a can opener (for making peanut soup, of course), both of my tin Yellow Submarine lunch boxes... and a jar of pickled prunes, canned by yours truly. I have been planning on learning to can forever. I had my first attempt with this recipe, and while the canning process was a bit of a disaster, the fruit came out just right.

This chutney-like recipe yields soft, rich fruit in a sticky glaze. The fruit is both sweet and savory; chopped pickled prunes instantly add depth to any dish. My ideas for using the prunes and raisins: toss cold chunks of steamed cauliflower with chopped prunes and a spoonful or two of syrup for a yummy salad. Saute or steam carrot sticks, then top with prunes for a tsimmesish creation. Fill celery sticks with chopped poached chicken, then sprinkle with raisins. 

Pickled Prunes
adapted from Serious Eats
I made this recipe with 3/4 prunes and 1/4 raisins. I thought the raisins were delicious and would happily repeat this with just raisins. There isn't much liquid and it's syrupy, not briny, so I'd classify this more as a chutney than pickles... but either way you should give it a try.

1 pound prunes or raisins
1 c red wine vinegar
1/2 lemon
1/4 c brown sugar
1/4 c honey
1 t fresh grated ginger
1/2 t whole black peppercorns
pinch ground cloves
pinch red chili flakes
pinch ground allspice
1 bay leaf
pinch salt

Combine fruit and vinegar in a medium saucepan. Add strips of lemon zest removed with a peeler and the lemon juice. Add all the rest of the ingredients and bring it all to a simmer. Cook 15-20 minutes, until prunes have plumped and liquid is a thin syrup. Remove pan from heat and cool slightly. Spoon into a jar and refrigerate, where it'll keep for a month. Or can using proper canning techniques and save it for even longer! (I haven't mastered this yet so I won't explain how.)

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