Thursday, January 21, 2010

Plum Jam (Cooked Version)

Okay, I'm missing summer.  We've had a good bout of snow lately and while the sledding has been fun, warm would be nice.  So in honor of all the snow, here's another flashback to summer post.  Plum Jam.  Cooked jams are not too difficult and a little bit of fruit can actually make more jam than you might think.  And one of the best parts about making jam is that you can make "variations on the theme" jams that you'll never find in a store, like cherry-strawberry or plum-pineapple or peach-jalepeno (hubby's personal favorite).  So in this post we'll talk about making jam from plums, but the general process applies to making cooked jam out of almost any fruit.

I'm using the recipe out of the MCP pectin box, other recipes may vary on ingredient amounts. You'll need:
plums (5 3/4 cups chopped)
sugar (8 1/2 cups)
lemon juice (1/2 cup)
pectin (I like MCP, but any boxed pectin works)
jars (pint or half pint are good)
lids and rings
water bath canner

Step 1: Wash your plums.  I got these plums from a friend who got them from a friend of hers who had too many on their tree, but then my friend picked too many of those so I got a box of them.  They're kind of funny looking plums--not the kind you get in the store.  They are harder, very purple/blue on the outside, very green on the inside, and kind of oblong shaped.  Any plums work.

Step 2: Pit and chop the plums.  Cut the plums in half to get the pits out.  I used my scary food processor to do the chopping.

Step 3:  Put the chopped plums in a pot with the lemon juice and heat it up.  Doesn't look very "plum" colored does it?  As you heat, the color bleeds from the skins and it all turns a nice plum color.  About this time is also good to get your water in your canner and start heating that up.  You'll also want to put all your lids in a little pot of water and heat them up a little.

Step 4: In a separate bowl, measure all the sugar.

Step 5: Once the sugar is ready, add the pectin to the pot of hot fruit and mix it in.  Don't add the sugar yet.  You can also add just a dab of butter or margarine to the pot (about 1/2 tsp.)  This will reduce the foaming that happens when you cook the jam and make a better looking jam.  Why it works, I do not know.  Canning magic.

Step 6: Bring the fruit mixture to a full rolling boil on high heat, stirring constantly (this is why you want your sugar already measured).

Step 7:  Once the mixture is boiling, stir in the sugar all at once and return to a full rolling boil.  Once you hit the full rolling boil, start your timer and let it boil for 4 minutes.  See?  Nicely plum colored now. :)

Step 8:  After four minutes, remove the jam from the heat, skim any foam, and scoop it into the jars.  Wipe the rims and put your hot lids on.  Put the jars in the canner and process for 10 minutes.  Make sure the water is 1-2 inches over the lids of the jars, add more water if you need to, then wait to start the canning time until it's boiling.

After 10 minutes, remove the jars from the canner and put them on a rack to cool.  I use the ultra cool upside down oven rack with the opposite end supported by a plate.

Label and put them away.  Jam of any kind makes great gifts or can quickly go with a loaf of bread or rolls to a potluck or family in need--a lot of these went out at Christmas this last year.  The last round I did, I didn't have enough plums so I opened a can of crushed pineapple and used that to make up the fruit volume.  That's my standby when I don't have enough fruit to finish a batch of jam, so we've had peach/pineapple, strawberry/pineapple, apricot/pineapple, and now plum/pineapple jam.  They're all good.


Momnerd said...

Oh my, that looks so good! Can I just have some of yours? ;)

marci357 said...

Italian prunes../plums.... the sweetest in the world! YUM! Wish I had done that with the friend's surplus, but I like eating them so much, there were none left to can :(

Anonymous said...

I'd like to eat those plums just like they are! Plums cost so much in Georgia we usually only buy three or four at a time, least any of them spoil and go to waste.

Dunappy said...

OH that looks good. My first adventures in canning involved making Zuchinni Marmalade. that was interesting Never thought of putting pineapple, ginger, and zuchinni together before.

HermitJim said...

Well, shoot! Now I'm all hungry again...and I just finished supper!

Still, if I had some with a little home made bread...I'd force myself!

Katidids said...

I'd never thought of using pineapple to fill in the fruit! Great tip thank yu!

Angela said...

Momnerd-absolutely, just come down for a visit :)

Marci-okay, that's what they were. I don't think they were fully ripe as they weren't at all soft and not real sweet either--the kids would have finished them off before I could make jam if they tasted any better than they did.

Hermit-that's how it is here with long season foods like artichokes and pomegranetes, and they're never as good at the store as they are fresh.

Dunappy--zucchini marmalade? I'll have to try that one.

Jim-yep, goes great on homemade bread. :)

Katidids-the best thing about the canned crushed pineapple is that it is always in season! That's probably why I use it so much. :)

vd said...

do you mean water bath, or are you pressure -canning? I am slightly confused by the vernacular. How many years could you store them?

Angela said...

vd-It's a water bath canner, sometimes also called boiling water canner. Because of the acid content, plum jam doesn't need to be pressure canned.

Check this link for shelf life:
Jam doesn't stay on the shelf too long here with the kids. :)

Stefany said...

i (NEED) to get some plums now! Yum!