Plum Pickles are not all too common, although they were once fairly popular along with figgy pudding and plum brandy. This plum pickle tastes nothing like what you would anticiapte from a pickle, it's basically a fruit preserve whose flavor has been enhanced by the addition of the red wine and preserved by the alcohol and vinegar.
5 lbs. small dark plums. Italian style plums work best, but other varieties will suffice. They should however be purple or black plums, the yellow varieties simply can't do justice to this superb delicacy.
2.5 cups red wine vinegar
3.5 cups red wine
4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
Perforate the plums ever so slightly with a fork, once on each side. This will prevent bursting as well as allow the flavor to seep through the fruits flesh.
Place all the ingredients, except the plums themselves, in a suitably lage enough non reactive pan. Bring the contents to a slow rolling boil, stirring to allow the sugar and spice to adequately dissolve and meld together. Allow it to boil for roughly 5 minutes, but not much longer as scorching is a possibility.
Remove the pot from the heat and let it cool to room temperature.
Place the plums in a bowl, preferably glass or ceramic and pour the cooled brine / syrup over them. and let them sit in the syrup overnight or 8 to 10 hours which ever comes first [or second].
After the plums have been emersed in the syrup for 8 to 10 hours drain the liquid back into the pan and boil it again. Basically repeat the process above allowing the plums to soak in the syrup for another 8 to 10 hours.
On the third day God created grass and herb and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its own kind which includes plums, all you have to do on this 3rd day is cook the plums in the syrup over a low heat untill until the skins begin to crack open.
Once the skins have begun to crack, remove the plums from the syrup with a large perforated spoon or similar utensil and transfer them to sterile mason jars, leave a tad more than 1/2 inch of head space in each jar.
Reboil the syrup and pour it over the plums being certain to cover them completely while maintaining about 1/2 inch of head space in each jar. Store them in a cool, dry and dark location, check the seals before using.