Salty-Sweet Spiced Pickled Plums
- ACTIVE: 40 MIN
- TOTAL TIME: 1 HR
- SERVINGS: makes four 1-pint jars
Inspired by li hing mui—salty-sweet dried plums that are a popular snack in China— chef Minh Phan pickles fresh plums in a salty-sweet spiced brine. She suggests serving the plums in a refreshing soda made by mixing them with their pickling liquid and sparkling water; garnish with a sprig of Thai basil.
- Four 1-pint canning jars with lids and rings
- 2 cups unseasoned rice vinegar
- 1 cup distilled white vinegar
- 2 packed cups dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup kosher salt
- 2 1/2 pounds firm-but-ripe plums, pitted and cut into eight wedges each
- 8 cloves
- 4 star anise pods
- One 2-inch cinnamon stick, broken into 4 pieces
- 2 teaspoons pink peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- Fill a large pot with water, cover and bring to a boil. Add the canning jars, lids and rings along with a set of tongs and a ladle and simmer over low heat for about 10 minutes to sterilize. Cover the pot and turn off the heat.
- Set a metal rack in another large pot. Fill the pot with water, cover and bring to a boil.
- Meanwhile, in a saucepan, combine both vinegars with the brown sugar and salt and bring to a boil to dissolve. Using the sterilized tongs, remove the jars from the hot water and transfer them to a rimmed baking sheet.
- Pack the plums, cloves, star anise, cinnamon, peppercorns and fennel seeds into the jars, leaving 1/2 inch at the top. Ladle the hot brine over the plums, stopping 1/2 inch from the top. Using the tongs, screw the lids and rings on the jars securely but not too tightly.
- Using canning tongs, lower the jars onto the rack in the boiling water, making sure they are covered by 1 inch of water. Boil over high heat for 20 minutes. Using the canning tongs, transfer the jars to a rack to cool until the lids seal (they will be concave); refrigerate any jars that do not seal. Store the sealed jars in a cool, dark place for up to 6 months.
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Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.