Awwww. Homemade plum jam. Isn’t it pretty? If my mother lived closer I’m sure she’d proudly display a jar on her shelf for everyone to see.
I’ve been wanting to try canning & preserving for awhile now, but was always afraid I’d give myself botulism. (And if we’re being honest, I did try making sweet chili jam last year, but that didn’t go so well.)
But my projects in the past year have given me courage – leaving warm milk out for 8 hours to make yogurt? Using that bubbly jar of sourdough starter? And some other projects I haven’t written about yet (saurekraut! kombucha! Prepare yourselves.)
You may remember I recently received some fresh-picked plums from a coworker and made plums in brandy. The next week he was back in the office again, this time with an entire tote bag full of produce for me! I was in heaven.
Apparently plum jam is easy. Really easy. Plums contain a lot of pectin, so you don’t need to add any additional. The ingredients are: plums, sugar, water. That’s it. Of course you could get fancy and add cinnamon sticks or vanilla pods or other types of fruits – but I thought for my very first jam I should make something straightforward.
Admittedly I sort of cheated on the ‘canning’ side. During my recent trip to Toulouse, I met a lovely French grandmother who told me everything I wanted to know about making jam and French treats like duck confit! Apparently with jam making only, you can get away with sterilizing the jars, filling them with boiling hot jam, putting on a sterilized lid, and turning the jars upside down until they cool. I confirmed with my mother that this is how they used to make jam in the old days on the farm too.
NOW. Before you all go doing this – please think for yourselves & do some research. I believe the USDA recommends hot water bath canning everything. So I guess you could say I’m living dangerously. Expert jam makers out there, what do you do??
I’ve been eating this jam every day for breakfast on homemade sourdough toast or stirred into yogurt (both recipes with links above, these are two of my favorite things to make!). If you have any favorite jam recipes send them my way, I sense a new hobby coming on…
adapted from River Cottage Preserves handbook
1.5 kilo plums
1.25 kilo sugar
Cut the plums in half and remove the stones. Place in a big preserving pan. Cover with 400 ml water. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 20 minutes or until soft.
Now stir in the sugar. Keep stirring until it is dissolved. Bring to a boil again, and let it cook until it reaches the ‘set point’. If you’re using a cooking thermometer – you need to boil until it reaches 104.5 Celsius. Approximately 20 minutes.
Immediately pour the jam into sterilized pots and cover. In sterilized jars the jam should keep for about 1 year.
Makes 3, 340g jars of plum jam.