Saturday, 19 October 2013

Plum Jam Recipe

Having fruit trees in my garden has given me an understanding of just how hard it must be to be a farmer. We have lived here for 3 summers now. The first year our plum tree had a good amount of fruit, we ate it all and enjoyed it. Last year a frost while the blossom was on the tree led to a very small harvest of about 1kg. This year the sun and rain have been at the perfect time for growing the fruit. My tree has grown more plums than it is possible for us to eat or give away.

I don't want to waste fruit so I have been looking at ways to preserve it and jam is a surprisingly easy way to do this.

Ingredients
  • 1.5kg Plums
  • Up to 1.5kg of Sugar
  • 15ml lemon juice
  • 100ml water
  • A dollop of butter (optional, but meant to help remove the foam)


Collage showing: plums in a bowl; plums being cut; cut plums; plums mixed with sugar; heated plums with jam; early boil; rolling boil; putting jam into jars; jam in jars
Tips
  • Most recipes suggest equal parts sugar and plums, but I found this too sweet (at least when based on the pre-stoned weight) so depending on your preference and the sweetness of the fruit add less sugar.
  • You can use preserving sugar or normal sugar. The larger crystals are meant to make the jam clearer with preserving sugar. Unless you are entering competitions I would recommend saving your money and using the ordinary stuff.
  • If you don't get the setting point quite right don't worry. It just means the jam will be more runny (and not keep as long) or more solid (and harder to spread if at room temperature).

Recipe
  1. Place a plate in the fridge to cool.
  2. Ensure you have sterilised jars and lids ready (I place clean jars and lids in on a baking tray in the oven for about 15 minutes).
  3. Wash all the fruit, cut and remove stones.
  4. Place the fruit in a large pan with the sugar, water and lemon juice.
  5. Heat gently until the sugar has dissolved and the fruit softens.
  6. Turn up the heat into a rolling boil (boiled quickly with lots of bubbles, see picture in collage).
  7. Stir the jam regularly and you will notice it start to thicken.
  8. Add the butter or skim the foam off.
  9. Test if the jam is ready by putting a small amount on the cooled plate. You can tell the jam is ready if you push at the cooling jam and it wrinkles.
  10. Pour or spoon the jam into the jars and add the lids.
  11. Put on some toast and enjoy.
A slice of white toast with plum jam on a white plate with a knife

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