Recipe: Plum and Earl Grey Preserves

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Plums are in season, and we have been busy thinking up more ways to use them. We were inspired by Heidi Swanson's Rosewater Plum Compote a couple weeks ago, and we set out to make our own plum sauce. We love tea and plums together, so we played around with an Earl Grey concentrate and sweet-tart red plums until we found a combination we liked. The tea gives the sweet plums undertones of tannins and herbs, and these deep flavors ripen as it sits.

This recipe only calls for a pound or so of plums - a very quick, accessible cooking project that gives you just enough for a week of jammy goodness on yogurt or toast. It will keep for about a week or two in the fridge.

Plum and Earl Grey Preserves
about 4 cups

1 pound red plums
1/2 cup white sugar
Juice of 1 large lemon
1 cup water
2 tablespoons Earl Grey tea leaves

Chop the plums into small 1-inch pieces, discarding the pits. Sprinkle with the sugar and lemon juice and set aside. Boil the water and pour it over the tea leaves. Leave to steep for about 15 minutes. Strain the tea into a small saucepan and simmer until reduced by half - about 10 minutes.

Combine the tea concentrate and plums. Simmer at low heat, uncovered, for about 25 minutes. Let cool on the stovetop for half an hour, then pour into a container and refrigerate. It won't set as hard as jam or jelly, but it will thicken from its pancake-sauce consistency into a compote or marmalade set.

Terrific with yogurt and even better on toast.

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