“Hold your Plums…….. And make some Jam”
I came home last week to a rather handsome but somewhat surprising sight. A huge soggy cardboard box of what turned out to be Victoria Plums. Evidently during a recent alcohol infused camping trip I had egged on fellow outdoor chum Keith that I would have all the plums he could muster from his new back garden. So of I went, a plum crumble, stewed plums and cream and finally a couple of batches of plum jam. I’ve only ever made marmalade (see link) but never made jam so the challenge was set. A quick flick on the Country Life website sent me to the following instructions. The result was rather wonderful. 1kg of fruit produced about four jars of the jewelled stickiness. The process is simple and the results seemingly easy to replicate. As a bonus it goes great with my soda bread recipe here.
- 1 kilo freshly picked plums (halved and stoned)
- 225 mls water
- 700 grams caster sugar
Simmer the plums over a mid heat for 20 minutes until the plums are soft and the skin has started to loosen. Make sure you put the water in as well. You don’t want your plums to catch on the hot pan. You’ll end up scraping them with a Brillo pad or the back of a knife!
The plums getting stoned and halved
Whilst this is simmering pop the sugar into the oven to heat up, this will prevent it from crystallising when you add it to the plums. I missed this step one time and it didn’t seem to have any noticeable effect.
After simmering add the caster sugar and cook on a low heat for 15 minutes or until the sugar has dissolved completely. It is very important that no sugar crystals are left in the jam. You can test this by coating the back of a wooden spoon with the mixture, you will be able to see if the sugar has not dissolved.
Turn the heat up and boil rapidly for 10 minutes. I had it on a ‘rolling boil’ so,it wouldn’t boil over. Spoon a little jam onto a cold plate and when the jam cools, push with your finger to see if a crinkly skin has formed, this means it has set, if not, just continue boiling.
Whilst the jam is boiling, don’t be put off by the scum which may appear, a small amount of butter added to the cooling mixture will get rid of most of it. You can skim any remaining off with a spoon.
Leave to cool for 15minutes and pour into hot sterilised jars. Cover with a waxed disk and screw the lid on tightly.
Tip: a simple way to sterilise jars, pour a small amount of water into the jars and boil in the microwave for a couple of minutes.
Place your jams in the larder for a taste of summer on a winter morning.
The final result