Growing up in the Okanagan, my Grams’ homemade HP sauce was a coveted preserve my family looked forward to every year (that and her homemade fruit leather, but that is another story). In the fall Grams would make as many jars as she could using up the overabundance of prune plums and apples from her yard. The only problem – it needed to sit in the jars for a few months before it was ready to be eaten. Sometime in the winter a couple of jars would arrive at our house and be carefully consumed by our family at a pace that would ensure it would last all year. We knew that as my Grams would say, “like good wine or the rest of us it improves with age”. It was so delicious that even my elementary-school-aged friends would ask for some with their breakfast post-sleepover.
It took a few years of canning experience for me to get up the nerve to ask Grams for her recipe. She promised it would be easy and delicious – and it is both. While we made a few hobbyist additions – fresh ginger and a good malty beer – Grams’ is still the best, and we all know why. We love giving jars of this to our friends – it is great on beef, chicken, sausage, and apparently even almonds. If you see the fall plums and apples overflowing at the farmer’s market snap them up and give this recipe a go. You won’t regret it or buy the bottled stuff ever again. If you aren’t familiar with HP (House of Parliament) Sauce it is a great malty and spicy steak sauce.
4 lbs apple chopped (~10cups)
4 lbs prune plums pitted and halved (~10cups)
1 bottle malty beer
2 large onions chopped
3 pints vingegar
4 tsp. fresh ginger
2 tsp. nutmeg
2 tsp. allspice
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 cup salt
3 -1/2 cups sugar
Boil fruit, onions and beer to a boil. Boil until the fruit is completely broken down. Press through a sieve or food mill to remove any chunks. Add 2 pints of malt vinegar, sugar and spices. Simmer until the desired thickness – this can take an hour or more. Add the last pint of vinegar as the mixture cooks down. Be patient with the cooking down time if you crank the heat and it scorches the flavour wont be right. Ladle the mixture in to sterilized jars and process in a hot water bath for 10min.
Grams’ warning: It will take a couple of days for the smell of the vinegar and spices to dissipate from the house. But it’s worth it! ENJOY!
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