Plums in Vodka

by Rachel on August 25, 2011

Plums in Vodka

One of my favorite childhood memories was spending a warm summer afternoons with a cookie tray on my lap, a paring knife in hand, and a large bowl of fruit by my side, prepping for jam, or for canning.  My grandmother devoted many summer days each year to “putting up fruit” which we then savored all winter.   What I’ve realized now in retrospect is that my grandmother wasn’t much for experimentation.  We made the same jam and the same canned fruit each season.  My childhood friend Helen is obsessed with canning and making jams.  Helen – unlike my grandmother, is willing to try just about anything.  Over the years she’s experimented with adding herbs to her fruit, and more up my alley – adding alcohol.  This is one of her tried and true recipes that she does every year and gives away as holiday gifts.  We used three types of plums, bright yellow, dark purple and deep red.  We could all do to channel a little bit of Helen and try something new.

Plums in Vodka (makes about 4 pints, recipe can be doubled easily)

  • 2 lbs plums (we used snazzy bright yellow plums), washed
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • Vodka

Prick the plums eight times around the outside, twice on top and twice on the bottom.  One does this so that when the plum starts to cook it doesn’t heat up the inside so much that it blows the skin right off of the fruit.  The same concept works for baked potatoes.   I’m wondering if pricking the outside of the average toddler might help stave off tantrums.

Put the sugar and water in a medium saucepan and turn the heat on high.  Bring to a boil.  Add the plums.  Turn the heat down to medium low and cook the plums for 10 minutes, gently pushing them around the pot all the while.  Set the pot and plums aside and allow the plums to steep in the sugar water overnight (just set the pot on your counter and cover with foil).

Plums stewing overnight

The next day bring to simmer over medium-high heat.  Using a slotted spoon remove the plums from the sugar syrup and place them into sterilized pint jars.  Place one cinnamon stick in the heated sugar water.  Bring that to a boil for two minutes.  Fill sterilized jars halfway with the sugar syrup.  Break the cinnamon stick into pieces and place in the jars.  Fill the jars to the top with room temperature vodka.  Put sterilized lids and bands on the jars.  Place the finished product on a cool dark shelf and DO NOT TOUCH for three months.

No TOUCHY for three full months. Promise?

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Kristen August 25, 2011 at 4:20 pm

Looks divine! I don’t think I could wait three months.

GA MIMI August 25, 2011 at 7:13 pm

This sounds great!!! Yummy…

Ann Leach August 25, 2011 at 7:42 pm

Any suggestions as to how to use these plums in vodka or do you just eat them that way. They look beautiful

Rachel August 29, 2011 at 10:44 pm

We serve them over ice cream, or they make a terrific American Version of an Eton Mess.
Or just eat them plain.
Or send them to me and I’ll eat them plain.

CE September 4, 2011 at 5:08 pm

Do you process the cans after pouring the vodka or just pour and then keep on shelf? I’m worried that my effort will result in mold. I’m dying to try this!

Rachel September 5, 2011 at 9:02 pm

CE: WIth the combination of Vodka and sugar there is NO possibility of mold. I do not process them – I just close them tightly. I promise, nothing will happen to them.

Pam September 9, 2012 at 11:22 am

I took 2/3 quart small yellow plums,1/2 small box sugarcubs,and filled it with vodka. I put slices in some quarts, and pealed some. My sister in law gave me the reciepty. She said to shake once a day for 2 weeks then remov the plums. How can i save the plums after removing them or should i leav them in the vodka. Their are to many plums

Rachel September 9, 2012 at 4:30 pm

You can keep the plums in the fridge for at least a week once you remove them from the vodka. I’d serve them over ice cream. YUM.

MissyC September 11, 2012 at 7:09 pm

After packing the fruit/vodka in the jars, will the lids “pop” closed and stay sealed? I plan on sterilizing the jars in the dishwasher and keeping them hot until I pack them. Also, the plums I have are very small…a bit bigger than cherries. I am considering using a cherry pitter to remove the pit (hopefully it works) and then using this recipe. Will that work? Or can I cut the plums in half, remove the pit and then follow the recipe? I am so excited to try this!!!

Rachel September 13, 2012 at 8:06 am

The lids do NOT pop. They only do that if you process them in a canner. They will stay sealed if you screw the tops on tightly. They won’t mold because of all the alcohol. I think you might want to pit the fruit if the plums are really tiny. GOOD LUCK.

MissyC September 14, 2012 at 5:02 am

Thanks! I pitted the plums (holy cow my hands hurt!) and made the first batch with vodka. Today I am going to do some with vodka and some with Brandy! My lids actually did pop shut….maybe had to do with the jars being so hot. I know even if they don’t stay down, I sealed them tight and they are perfect! Looking forward to trying them in December!

sylvia August 17, 2013 at 6:48 pm

Hi….. why do you not pit your plums, I would think it would be awkward to serve them over ice cream? can I halve and pit them or is that a problem?

Rachel August 18, 2013 at 9:54 am


I don’t cut them in half because they look much prettier whole. You can use a pitter and pit them (leaving them whole). If you cut them in half they will fall apart in the jars. I don’t mind taking the pits out when I serve them – maybe it just makes them feel even more home made to me.

Erin March 22, 2014 at 8:22 pm

We made this last fall, it is fantastic. We are just finishing off the last jars. We didn’t pull the plums out, so the vodka got a little thick, like pulpy orange juice. We are all set up to make another batch tomorrow!

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: