We got a bag of purple plums from our CSA that have a great flavor and seem ripe, but that are very tart. I'm the only person in the family who really likes sour fruit, and they are pretty sour even for me, so we are not going to get through them eating them out of hand.

What are some good fast and simple ideas for cooking them? A compote? Can I make something like apple sauce?

EDIT: Speed and simplicity are important considerations. Homemade jam is delicious, and I know how to make it, but jam-making isn't something I am going to do after I get home from work to use up some extra fruit.

  • Hi there, thanks for your question! Please note that questions calling for a list of answers (as opposed to seeking a single "right" answer) should be started as Community Wiki. I've converted the question for you.
    – Aaronut
    Commented Sep 2, 2010 at 16:17
  • A compote is an awesome idea - not so much trouble as jam-making, and you can go through it pretty fast if you eat it on breakfast things (pancakes, french toast) and desserts (cakes and ice cream)! I think I made something like this a while back: funnfud.blogspot.com/2008/02/… (And if you're cooking them, you can also let them ripen pretty thoroughly to try and get them sweeter.)
    – Cascabel
    Commented Sep 2, 2010 at 22:27

4 Answers 4


Tart fruits work well in jellies and jams, or as candied fruit. These all allow you to vary the sugar content to get the level of sweetness you want, plus you don't have to worry about botulism as much.

You could also try a fruit-infused brandy: cut fruit into slices, and layer fruit/sugar/fruit/sugar into a tall lidded jar. Cover with a spirit of your choice, usually vodka, although a milder brandy or white rum also works. Let this sit for several weeks to infuse, strain, and use as a flavoring in cooking or as a mixer in cocktails (or just drink it).


I'd consider a plum buckle or other plum cake. As necessary you can up the sugar to compensate for the extra-sour plums.

A free-form tart adding berries to the plums as a filling also sounds tasty and like it would have a lovely texture. Perhaps blackberries or raspberries?


You can consider making plum syrup or plum wine, sure they are of very quick and easy "preparation", but they need some time to "age".

One example of Japanese plum syrup and plum wine:


  • Wow! Great video link for making plum syrup + wine.
    – Mark A
    Commented Jul 3, 2011 at 5:04

Save some of those babies for summertime. Pit and freeze the plums, and use them to add tang and depth of flavor to smoothies and slushes when the hot weather hits. One of my favorite combinations is prune plum paired with mango in a base of pineapple and grape juices.

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