‘Summer in a Jar’ (Canned European Plum Compote)


On Saturday we spend part of the day rummaging and discovering our way through a local antique place. I got some great deals on glass custard dishes, and a couple of old glass bottles we’ll be using to store my home made salad dressing (like the Greek Feta Buttermilk Dressing). It was rainy and the the temperature was steadily dropping, so being inside for several hours looking through old kitchen and household items, books and furniture was fun!

The trees behind my house are changing color, the first touches of fall, the first signs of frost (it only went down to 37 at my house, yipee!), and I have to come to terms with the fact that summer is definitely, absolutely over. No more denial. It’s FALL! Don’t get me wrong I LOVE fall, it’s just I really, really, REALLY liked summer this year and it’s hard to let go of something dear. In order to be able to take advantage of end of summer, super ripe, bursting with flavor European plums (aka prune plums, they are the smaller, oval purple/blue ones, that look a bit hazed over vs shiny) for a little while longer, I decided to cook them up into a compote, that can be used on Crêpes, pancakes or eaten as s desert (cold or warmed up) with some whipped cream or stir into greek yogurt as a treat!

or over cottage cheese…

If you live near an Italian or even Russian Market, you might have an easier time finding this old world favorite as not all stores are carrying them in our area and the seasonal availability is limited to a short window of opportunity. At my parents garden in Switzerland they would usually ripen sometime in late August or early September.


Today, after having found a nice (hopefully not quite yet) last batch at the farmers market, Now let’s see if we can make that preserving magic happen, for when fall or winter really hits and we are all longing for something that tastes of SUMMER!


  • 5 cups prune plums, halved, pitted (or 4 cups plums and 1 cup apple)
  • 1 -3 tbsp sucanat/rapadura*, raw sugar or other real sweetener of choice
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp tapioca
  • 3 pint canning jars and lids, bands, washed in the dishwasher
  • 21 qt water bath canner with canning rack
  • small sauce pan with boiling water ( to sterilize lids)


  • Prep the canner: fill with required amount of hot water and bring to a simmer. Heat water in small sauce pan, add the lids to it and bring to a simmer.
  • In a medium sauce pan, combine the plums with the rest of the ingredients above and bring to a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally . Keep at a simmer of 5 minutes, then remove from heat, cover and set aside.


    • If your jars are still hot (they juts came out of the dishwasher) sit them on a kitchen towel and fill one at a time with the compote, using a ladle and a canning funnel, leaving a 1/2″ head space (If they are cold, heat them submerged in the canner, in order to prevent them from breaking from the quick temperature change)
    • Wipe rim with clean paper towel, so not compote or juice clings to the top, then center one of the prepares lids on top, then tighten band (not too much, juts fingertip tight) with your fingertips only! When all the jars are filled and lidded (is that a word?), place them on the canning rack an lower into your canner, making sure all jars are covered by 1″ of water.


  • Bring the water in the canner to a boil and process for 30 minutes, adjusting for altitude
  • When time is up, turn off heat and leave them in the water bath for another 5 minutes, then lifting the rack up an hooking it to the sides of the pot, remove the jars gently (don’t shake or tighten or anything) place on a kitchen towel to cool off completely.
  • check in 24 h if the seal is secure (Lid does not flex up and down when pressed in the middle) place any not properly sealed jars in the fridge and eat quickly (just the content, please)
  • Label and store, or gift 🙂
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0 Replies to “‘Summer in a Jar’ (Canned European Plum Compote)”

  1. Where did you get the 30 minutes processing time? And, why not ClearJel instead of tapioca? Actually, what’s the origin of the recipe? 🙂

    1. Hey Louise, thanks for stopping by! Good questions! The recipe is based on some of my Grandma’s family recipe’s, so the origin I guess would have to be half/half Switzerland and my head 😉
      Many of my clients have allergies to corn, therefore I used tapioca as a thickener so the recipe could be corn free, since ClearJel is corn based, but you could definitely use ClearJel if you prefer.

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