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Sweet and Sour Prunes

Totally delicious as an accompaniment to patés and terrines.
They should be made at least a week in advance, but will continue to improve for many more.
It is very important to use the best, and biggest, natural prunes you can find – not chemically-treated ready-to-eat prunes. Sainsbury are an excellent national source.
The inclusion of tea, in some form, has developed as a substitute for dried lime blossom – which was traditional, but not always immediately to hand!

If you enjoy cooking take a minute to look at ‘Simon Scrutton Cookery Classes’ on Google – and learn how to make top class bistro-style dishes. Suitable for beginners upwards.

Key Features

  • Suitable for Vegetarians
  • Suitable for Vegans


500g/1lb big Prunes, unpitted
- 2 Tea Bags (Indian -style)
- 300g/10 fl oz Caster Sugar
- 450ml/16 fl oz Tarragon-flavoured White Wine Vinegar
- 1 whole Cinnamon Stick (not powder)
- 2 whole Cloves
- enough Vodka to finish; this depends on the shape of your storage container (but about 150ml/5 fl oz)


1. Cover the prunes with water, add the tea bags, bring to the boil, then simmer for 15 minutes. Allow to stand for 3 hours, by which time the fruit should have recovered its plum-like shape. Remove the tea bags.
2. Drain the prunes. The left over liquid can be thrown away, but actually is a delicious drink, and a good liquid for braising pork or deglazing pork chops.
3. In a stainless steel saucepan, dissolve the sugar in the vinegar, over a low heat. Add the spices and remove from the heat.
4. Gently prick each prune a few times with a small skewer, and place in a glass or stainless steel bowl (not aluminium).
5. Pour the vinegar solution over the prunes and allow to stand at room temperature overnight.
6. Strain the vinegar into a clean stainless steel pan; bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Cool.
7. Sterilise a glass preserving jar – by placing it in a very low oven for 30 minutes. Remove carefully and allow to cool.
8. Place the prunes in the jar and cover with the cold vinegar; add enough vodka to completely cover the fruit, but a minimum of 150ml/5 fl oz.
9. Seal and keep in a dark place.

Refrigerate after opening.
Recipe taken from 'Foolproof Entertaining' by Simon Scrutton

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