Fermented Plum Sauce

This plum ferment is very loosely based on Georgian tkemali, a sour sauce of green or purple plums served alongside grilled or roasted meat or used in stews and braises. It's good with fatty stews of lamb or pork and works well either cooked right into it like tomato puree or stirred through at the end - you'll get different characteristics of the ferment coming through!

The higher sugar in fruit means that they are more prone than vegetables to invasive yeasts and moulds when fermented; adding a little starter culture in the form of kefir or brine helps to ensure a lactic rather than an alcoholic fermentation. This recipe works with any plum or greengage, especially sourer or more tannic varieties, as well as other stone fruit like nectarines or even cherries!

When using the preserving jar, add water around the rim and place the weights straight on top of the ingredients.



  1. Over a bowl halve and stone the fruit, then tear into chunks. Depending on ripeness they will probably collapse quite a lot at this point. Ideally you should have chunks of fruit swimming in juice. Weigh the pulp and juice, and calculate 2.5% of its weight in salt. Add this to the bowl.
  2. In a dry pan toast the peppercorns, coriander and fennel just until their aroma begins to rise, then crush gently in a mortar.
  3. Add the spices to the bowl with the chilli, red pepper, garlic and kefir. Mix well and then pack into a 2 litre fermenting pot or jar, leaving a good couple of centimetres of space at the top to allow for expansion.
  4. Cover the surface directly with a piece of baking parchment, top with the weight and seal the jar. Leave at room temperature for around three to five days; it should be starting to fizz and sour. Once it is fermented transfer to the refrigerator, where it will keep happily for weeks. 
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Fermented Plum Sauce

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