Fermented Plum Sauce

Fermented plum sauce is an Asian-inspired sweet and sour dipping sauce.

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4.5 from 2 reviews

This Asian-inspired fermented plum sauce is sweet, sour, and mildly spiced. It has so much more flavor than its store-bought alternative. Perfect for dipping spring rolls and salad rolls. Serve it with rice or add it to a stirfry.


Units Scale
  • 3.5 cups of plums, chopped (about 6 large plums)
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup of sugar (see notes)
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 3 Tbsp raw apple cider vinegar (see notes for alternatives)
  • 3 Tbsp water, chlorine-free
  • 1/2 tsp salt, to taste (added after fermenting)


  1. Mix the plums, onion, ginger, and garlic in a large bowl. Stir in the sugar and spices. Pack the plum sauce mixture into a quart-sized (1 L) jar. It should fit if you really pack the plums in.
  2. Mix the ACV and the water. Pour it into the jar. Use a weight to keep the fruit below the liquid and leave 1/2 inch (1.5 cm) of headroom at the top of the jar. If your plums are firm, you may need to wait a few hours for them to release enough liquid to completely submerge below the liquid. Don’t add extra water or vinegar as you’ll end up with too much liquid in the long run. ┬áCap the jar with a lid that can handle fermentation.
  3. Stash the plum sauce somewhere dark (a kitchen cupboard is perfect) to ferment for 2-7 days. The longer it ferments the less sweet it will be.
  4. For a smooth plum sauce, puree the fruit after fermenting. I find that an immersion blender works well for this job.
  5. Stir in the salt, to taste. Store the finished plum sauce in the fridge. At first, it will be a bit sparky from the fermentation, but that should only last for about a week. See the section above for details on how to preserve plum sauce for longer periods of time.


  • This is a sugar-based ferment, so any yeast-based starter culture will work to ferment this plum sauce. I recommend using raw apple cider vinegar because it can be found in most grocery stores. Just look for unpasteurized, raw, or with mother, as not all ACV contains live cultures.
  • Other culture options include ginger bug, water kefir, and kombucha. Again, it’s important to make sure they contain live yeast cultures, so don’t use store-bought versions which usually don’t contain the necessary culture.
  • While I don’t often include sugar in my recipes, this ferment needs it to feed the culture. If you want to avoid added sugar, don’t replace it with a substitute. Just don’t add the sugar and reduce the fermentation time to 24 hours.