Plum Jam

August 14, 2011 at 12:29 pm | Posted in jams & preserves, sweet things | 8 Comments
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plum jam

My CSA has very been generous with the stone fruits over the last few weeks.  I have those little green cardboard quart containers of apricots and plums cluttering my countertop.  I’m not complaining at all, but I did panick a little when two quarts of plums went from hard to squish over the course of one night.  Time to make jam, I guess!

I know that I showed you how to make an Easy Plum Jam a couple of summers ago, but, yeah, that was a couple of summers ago and I like to tinker around with new recipes.  Turns out this one’s easy, too.  It requires a bit more cooking time than the other recipe, but uses a bit less sugar proportionally…a give-and-take that I can easily accept.  It’s also what I’d call “small-batch preserving” and makes a few jars worth of jam that are stored in the refrigerator.  I find, especially in a smaller city kitchen, that this method is far more approachable than hot water processing for long-term storage.

This makes a brilliant jewel-toned jam with a soft set.  I happened to have a vanilla pod that I’d scraped out for another recipe, so I threw it in during cooking. The fruit skins turn into little sticky, candied bits that are my favorite part of a good plum jam.  I’m going out now to get some English muffins.

plum jam

Plum Jam— makes about three 1/2-pint jars
adapted from Food & Wine (September 2009)

Steph’s Notes:  You can also infuse your jam with background flavors during cooking time.  I added a scraped out vanilla pod to mine, but a whole cinnamon stick would also be great, as would a couple of smashed cardamom pods or a few black peppercorns (which I’d tie up in a cheescloth bundle for easier removal at the end).  Just be sure to fish out whatever whole spices you’ve added before jarring your jam!

If you have trouble telling if your jam is done, you can pop a small plate into the freezer to chill.  Spoon 1/2 teaspoon fruit mixture onto the cold plate and allow to set for 30 seconds. Tip the plate  45 degrees to one side; jam should be a soft gel that moves slightly.  If mixture is liquid and runs quickly down the plate, return the jam to the heat and cook, stirring constantly, 2-5 minutes longer; then repeat the test.

2 pounds small plums, washed, pitted and cut into 1/2-inch wedges
1 1/2 cups sugar
pinch of salt

1/2 lemon, seeded

-In a large, nonreactive saucepan, toss the plums with the sugar and pinch of salt and let stand, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is mostly dissolved (you can let this stand at room temperature from 1-3 hours).

-Squeeze the lemon over the plums, add it to the saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.  Cook over moderate heat, stirring, until the liquid runs off the side of a spoon in thick, heavy drops, 20 to 25 minutes.  Skim off any scum that rises to the surface of the jam during the cooking process.

-Discard the lemon and spoon the plum jam into three clean 1/2-pint jars (you can sterilize the jars and lids first with boiling water, if you are so inclined), leaving about 1/4 inch of space at the top.  Close the jars and let the jam cool to room temperature.  Store the jam in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.


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  1. I love plum jam. Out of all the jams I have in my fridge the homemade plum is my absolute favorite. This summer I tried making plum jam with different kinds of plums. So far I have used black, red, and tropical plums. I think its a tie between black and tropical for my favorite. Oh and the colors plums make are gorgeous!

    • i love the colors! what are tropical plums–i must google this!

      • They are a more golden plum. Just discovered them myself 🙂

  2. this is beautiful! and i’m so jealous you made it into one of the elusive nyc CSAs!

    • it was hard work getting in, believe me! even though i enquired in march, they put me on the waiting list for a couple months. then i had to race to a first-come sign up to get off the wait list. phew! i am hoping i get a gauranteed spot next year.

  3. such a beautiful color!

  4. Really good flavour, cardamom and star anise make a nice change, we added a pinch of chilli just to give the jam a little kick at the end.

  5. who knew that it would be this easy to make my resident plum LOVER (aka mom) so happy with fresh homemade jam? no excuses now 😉

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