Tuesday, 1 September 2009

a country mouse makes plum jam

Little R and I got a fantastic harvest of plums from the garden (10lbs) and spent the afternoon making plum jam. I used the first recipe that came up when I googled plum jam. The instructions were basic to say the least so I have added in brackets some things it would have been useful to know and which I found out the hard way.

Plum Jam Recipe

4lbs plums, 1 pint water, 4lbs sugar.

1. Wash and wipe the plums. Cut in halves. (I seem to remember reading somewhere that damaged fruit can make jam mouldy so I discarded a lot and put them aside to make chutney later as that does not need the really good fruit. Also you don't need to remove the stones as they bubble to the surface during the cooking).

2. Put into a pan with the water and simmer gently until the fruit is soft. (you need a HUGE pan for this. I ended up ladling it between my 2 biggest pots and making a right mess of the cooker while trying to ensure the proportions of fruit and sugar in both pots were the same).

3. Test for pectin. (I don't know what this is or how to do it so didn't do it and it was fine).

4. Add the sugar, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. (I had to use all the sugar in the cupboard, so a combination of caster, granulated and golden caster sugar. Fingers crossed).

5. Bring to the boil and boil rapidly until the jam sets when tested. (get the stones out while waiting for the set. You really have to boil it hard, and for a good while. You have a set when a teaspoon of the mixture on a plate forms a skin/can be wrinkled with your finger when it cools. I wondered if I'd know when it was the right stage but actually it was obvious).

6. Remove the scum. (use a stainless steel spoon).

7. Pot and seal while still hot. (make sure glass jars and lids are sterilised beforehand in oven and use them warm from oven so they don't crack when jam poured in. Make sure no air under the wax disc).

Then put pretty wee gingham circles on them (recognise the Little White Company pyjama trousers?) and take a photo for your blog!

Messy cooker (above). Took a good 10 minutes of scrubbing to get it clean. Plum harvest (below).


  1. We got a great haul from our tree too. Found the normal jam too sweet but found a version that uses only a fifth of the sugar. It was nearly perfect but a little sharp so next time I shall try a bit more sugar. The recipe is much more time consuming as it used an oven to thicken the mixture. Will need to do more experimenting but could be worth it.

  2. Using an oven sounds potentially less messy than the way I did it today. So, sounds good to me!