Plum Conserve


A “conserve” is a jam made with a mixture of fruit, usually including some citrus, and often nuts and raisins. It can be served as a topping over pound cake, ice cream, or along side meat such as pork or chicken, or just on its own. This delicious recipe comes from a Simply Recipes reader, Lou Grubaugh, who shares her favorite old family recipe for plum conserve. We didn’t quite have the 3 pounds of tart plums that the recipe called for, so I substituted a few not-quite-ripe pluots, and some perfectly ripe plums too. For plums I used a combination of Santa Rosas (tart when not perfectly ripe) and Satsumas. Do you have a special plum recipe? See our post on plums and add your favorite to the comments of that post.

Plum Conserve Recipe



  • 7 cups seeded, chopped tart plums (about 3 pounds)
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 1 navel orange, thinly sliced, including rind
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced, including rind, seeds removed
  • 3 1/2 cups raisins
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts

Special Equipment needed:
6 pint-sized mason jars
1 large 6 to 8-quart sized pan (Stainless steel or copper with stainless steel lining, not aluminum which will leach)
A ladle or pour cup for transferring the conserve from the pan to the jars
A jar lifter - useful but not necessary


1 Prepare jars for canning in any of the following ways. You can run them through a short cycle on your dishwasher. You can place them in a large pot (12 quart) of water on top of a steaming rack (so they don't touch the bottom of the pan), and bring the water to a boil for 10 minutes. Or you can rinse out the jars, dry them, and place them, without lids, in a 200°F oven for 10 minutes.

2 Put plums, sugar, orange, lemon, and raisins into a large 6 or 8-quart pan. Heat until boiling. Gently boil for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring frequently, or until the mixture starts to thicken slightly. Stir in walnuts.

plum-conserve-1.jpg plum-conserve-2.jpg

3 Carefully ladle the conserve into the jars, one at a time, leaving 1/4 inch head space at the top of the jars for a vacuum seal. Wipe the rim clean with a clean, wet paper towel. Place the lid on the jar, securing with a jar ring. Work quickly. Allow the jars to sit overnight. You will hear them make a popping sound as a vacuum seal is created.

Makes 5-6 pints.

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Showing 4 of 8 Comments

  • Stephanie

    I have been enjoying your site for a while now. Thank you! I had a question on the Plum Conserve. I just finished making it for the first time. The taste testing was delicious. I just wondered if you leave the citrus slices in when you serve it? Also, how do you most often serve it? I even thought it would be nice over a baked brie. Thank you from someone who is glad there are smarter people than her out there! :)

    Hi Stephanie, yes I leave everything in it, including the citrus slices. I think it is delicious with pork chops. ~Elise

  • Mansi

    This looks great, and perfect for using the plums in my kitchen!:)

  • jo

    It looks delicious!!! I hope I can try it soon. I just gathered wild walnuts as well, too bad our plums had a rough spring this year..oh well, I will buy some lovely organic ones to use instead. I think this would taste really good in winter with baked bread.
    I also wanted to tell you just how much I ADORE your site. Always inspiring. I love how you include stories, beautiful pictures and of course the tips. I wasn’t really taught how to cook, so certain things considered “obvious” to some are absolutely foriegn to my head. Heavy emphasis on the “beautiful pictures” bit. ;)

  • Gira

    I am wondering how well this recipe might work with some Chambord or zinfandel added. Looks positively delightful and like something that could be a very welcome easy and inexpensive gift for the holidays. :)

  • Lumei

    I love plums. But they are really expensive in Japan. If I have many plums, I could make a similar conserve and tried to put it in a bread recipe or just put on ice cream. Yum!

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