Faced with a cornucopia of plums on the tree, picking started over the weekend which bore over 4 kilos of fruit. Having eaten lots, given away bagfuls and made a few crumbles, 1.5 kilos were turned into jam.
A novice jam maker, I was not sure of the outcome but an hour and half later, 6 jars were full of piping hot plum jam and the kitchen smelt wonderful.
I used a basic jam making recipe, one that required very little preparation but make sure you have the right kitchen utensils and pans as well as preparing your jam jars, washing and sterilising them before you start.
1.5 kilo plums, 1.1 kilo granulated sugar (plums already contain a good amount of pectin so jam sugar is not necessary), a tablespoon of lemon juice, knob (30g or so) of butter and 100ml of cold water
Wash your plums, removing stalks and cut the plums vertically in half, twist open and discard stones.
Using a large, deep, heavy based pan, place the plums, lemon juice and water and bring to the boil stirring frequently. Lessen heat and simmer the fruit until the plums have softened – a tip, if you like your jam with more chunky texture and fruit pieces, simmer for less time.
Keep on a low heat as you add the sugar and stir continuously until dissolved – the plums are very sweet anyway, so you can use a little less sugar than specified if preferred.
Add the butter to prevent frothing. Turn up the heat, stirring continuously until the mix is rapidly boiling.
Continue boiling and stirring until the jam reaches the setting point. The mixture will begin to thicken, sticking to the back of the spoon and sides of the pot. To test, put a teaspoon of the jam onto a cold saucer, once cooled, push your finger across the surface when it should wrinkle – return to the heat and continue stirring if not quite set.
Take off the heat and pour carefully into the clean, warm jars- I used a separate pouring jug to control the speed of pouring and prevent burning – WARNING, be very careful, boiling jam is dangerously hot. Seal and label the jars when warm, then allow to cool.
As the jam cools it will further set so don’t worry if the mix appears to be too runny while hot. As long as you have tested it has reached the setting point it should work!
The plum jam can be stored for months in a cool, dark place/shelf to be enjoyed at any time of the year with cakes, scones, toast and pancakes. Equally it makes a superb present, homemade and delicious.
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