Plums – Worcestershire sauce

It is time for plums again so this week have been seeking them out.  I needed badly to make some worcestershire sauce, as well as about 10 kilos for a bottling class here.

By chance I’d heard of a fruit farm not too far away near the township of Plenty in the Derwent Valley, and daughter Stephanie just happened ot have the man’s phone number.  Contact was duly made so Robert and I headed out to buy greengages and whatever other plums the farmer might have.

I prefer damson plums for making worcestershire sauce, though it can be made with any type, so to find this variety was my chief objective.  When we arrived at the farm, the owner of the orchards, Michael, offered to show us around.  It is like a preserver’s paradise.  All sorts of plums grow there – blood plums, Stanleys, sugar plums and very many more varieties besides – a plum for every occasion.  Best of all was a whole orchard lane way of damson plums trees, just ripe for the picking.  These photos speak for themselves.

Michael’s knowledge of the characteristics of each type of plum was nothing short of astounding – the whys and wherefores of how they would perform in cooking of jams and preserves.  Soon the few kilos I’d planned to buy turned into more than 32 kilos!

The plums were at the prefect stage for bottling, both the greengages and other varieties and the damsons were put aside for the worcestershire sauce.

On the day of the bottling class Stephanie also brought around the almost 50kg of nashi fruit to preserve as well.  We had a great time with three preserving outfits on the go and the wonderful people who came along volunteered to come back and help us with our own bottling in the afternoon – and they did.

The next day it was time to make worcestershire sauce from the damsons.  For anyone who hasn’t made it before, its aroma as it cooks is sensational and the end product exceptional.  For anyone who would like to try it, the recipe is to follow.

(By the way,  I haven’t even spoken about the mulberries at Michael’s farm, but that I’ll save for the next blog).

Worcestershire Sauce

This makes about 1.5 litres of sauce.  It will keep for years.

It is wonderful for adding to casseroles and sauces to give them a lift.  You only need to add at most 1 tablespoon to your average casserole and a couple of teaspoons to a gravy or jus.

1.5kg plums – damsons are best, but you can use any sort

12 cups brown malt vinegar

60g garlic, no need to peel – I cut the cloves in half to release their flavour

60g salt

2 cups treacle

500g brown sugar

60g ginger root, bruised

45g cloves

15g whole allspice

1 teaspoon cayenne

Combine all ingredients in a large pot.  Bring to the boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 3 hours, stirring occasionally, squashing the plums against the side of the pot in the process.

Strain the mixture through a colander, pressing down to push through some of the plum pulp.  Pour into warm sterilised bottles and seal immediately.


31 thoughts on “Plums – Worcestershire sauce

  1. Aprosina Wanjiku says:

    Thank you for the recipe i will absolutely try it out once we get plums during the season. However, my question is, what is the shelf life of the bottled pulp?
    Thank you


    • Sally Wise says:

      Hi – the shelf life of bottled fruit is at least a year, if it has been preserve by the Fowlers-style method that is, and if the jar has sealed properly during the process.



  2. Kathryn says:

    This is quite a different recipe than the one you give in your book ‘A Year in a Bottle’. For the same amount of fruit you have almost halved everything else. Can I ask why, and which recipe is actually the better one?


    • Sally Wise says:

      It depends really on how you like your worcestershire sauce. I am altering my recipes all the time, according to availability of fruit, what I am working on and with on any given day. In this instance, as I had the luxury of many, many plums, I doubled the fruit content to see what would happen. The resulting sauce has more body to it, a little more plum flavour. Either recipe will work well – the one in “A Year in a Bottle” will just be a bit thinner in consistency.


  3. Ruth says:

    I am coeliac so can’t use the brown malt vinegar because of the gluten. Is there another type of vinegar that you could suggest to use.


    • Sally Wise says:

      Any recipe will work – I apply different amount to each fruit sometimes, just for tweaking to get best flavour and end result.



  4. Tamsin Adams says:

    Hi Sally, I have an abundance of plums, yummo. Would garlic bulbils suffice for this recipe? I have so many garlic heads I would love to use these as well, instead of them going to waste. I’d love to give this a go tomorrow…Cheers Tam


  5. Tamsin Adams says:

    Hi Sally, I have an abundance of plums, yummo. Would garlic bulbils suffice for this recipe? I have so many garlic heads I would love to use these as well, instead of them going to waste. I’d love to give this a go tomorrow…Cheers Tam


  6. Stephen Grant says:

    I have had plum sauce and chilli relish for over three years and it is still perfect if not better than the day it was made all sealed in sterilized hot jars and the lid sucks back in I will try your worstershire this summer when the blood plums are ripe Cheers Steve


  7. Barb Mewburn says:

    I have used this recipe for the last 2 years. it is fantastic. I also like to add about 2 tsp tamarind paste & some anchovies to taste. It gives a real kick! To make enough for my extended family, I often have to make 2 lots, leaving out the garlic as they are sensitive to it.
    I’m fast running out of sauce this year, so will try it with some prunes. I’ll keep you posted on that.


  8. Jenn White says:

    hi Sally I have a lot of bottled plums and I was wondering if you can use them to make the Worcestershire sauce.



  9. Michael Foote says:

    Sally, I made this Plum Worcester recipe. I looked at yours, and another which was re-posted (acknowledging it was yours), The latter said it made 1.5 litres.. I ended up – after 3+ hours of simmering – with 3 litres of sauce and with a consistency of water!
    What have I done wrong?


    • sallywiseau says:

      Nothing at all Michael. Could be the plums had a lot of juice. Never mind, whichever way it doesn’t matter. Just reduce it by boiling it until it reduces down a bit. I sometimes (when I’m lucky enough to have a lot of plums)double the amount of them in the mixture. There’s enough preserving agents in there between the sugar, treacle, salt and vinegar to ensure that it doesn’t spoil. This will make a thicker sauce with more sediment. Hope this helps.


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