PLUM JAM – How To Easily Make At Home
Here's how to simply make plum jam, if you have an abundance of plums. Tastes amazing & is great with toast or my popular British Scones.
Last 2 years my neighbour had a glut of fruit from the plum tree in their back garden. This year I made some fruit cakes with the plums, but there was plenty more there. And for them not to go to waste, I made some plum and orange jam. A very thick jam, more like a preserve. I had left-over a packed of Certo fruit pectin and I used that to set the jam nicely.
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Why Use Pectin For Jam Making?
You can make jam without any gelling agent, but it means your fruit should be high in naturally occurring pectin (a vegetarian gelling agent), as well as needing more sugar. For jam making with no gelling agent, you need equal weight of fruit to sugar. With these Certo pectin pouches, for this jam, I was able to use 20% less sugar. It also means the jam will definitely set. Some fruit will set to a jam better than others, depending on the naturally occurring content of pectin they contain. Lemon & apple are very high, and so this why lemon (including the skins) are used in this recipe. They don’t impart any flavour, but rather give off their pectin while cooking.
Now in the UK it’s hard and expensive to source these Certo liquid/gel pouches, but you can easily buy the same brand in supermarkets here, in more of a liquid form (see photo above). If you do use those, please refer to the bottle for how much to use according to however much fruit your use.
Other Fruits & Flavourings
I added a small amount of strawberries that were past their best, as well as some blackberries from the garden. These and the pectin, help retain a deep rich colour to this jam. But you can use any fruit you have to hand, or just increase the plum amount accordingly. Now I also wanted to add some spices to this jam, but my youngest son wasn’t keen. So what I did was add Sicilian orange extract after the jam was set and added until I was happy with the flavour. It does give it an amazing flavour. I also made fig curd recently and added anise to that, and found it amazing!. Recipe to come soon.
Sterilizing, Water Baths & Canning
I don’t have sterilizing or canning equipment, and I knew I would be using up the jam soon (within 6 weeks, as I gave away 2 jars). So I did not sterilize the jam jars or do any water bathing after making the jam. You can of course choose to do this if you wish. Here is a link to a site to read about different Methods Of Canning. I instead thoroughly cleaned & dried out the jars and actually filled them the following day, after the jam had completely set up. (You can also transfer to the jam to jars, 5 minutes after making the jar). But I wanted to keep the jam in the pot to show exactly how much it will set up with time.
Just note though that I keep the jam in the fridge at all times, and use a clean knife/spoon every time the jam is used, to avoid contamination. If not going to consume all the jam within 6 weeks, it would be best to can/water bath the jars and then they can keep for a year outside of the fridge unopened.
Note On The Plums
Just a couple of notes on the plums before we get to the recipe. The plums I used were the ‘Czar’ variety, but you can use any type you have. Just note that these were a little smaller, so I only cut into quarters when removing the stones. Bigger plums, you could cut into sixths.
Also note, that the weight of the plums for the recipe, is the weight after cutting and removing the stone. So just bear that in mind.Jump to Video
RECIPE CARD – PLUM JAM
- Large Colander
- Knife & chopping board
- Extra Large Cooking Pot
- Wooden spoon
- Sugar Thermometer (optional)
- Small sieve
- Cleaned/Sterilized jam jars (450g preserve jar/16oz x 4 approx.)
- Canning/Water bath equipment (optional)
- Labels (optional)
- 1 kg Plums, (already chopped & stones removed weight) (35.25 oz, 2.2 lb/ 5.5 – 6 cups approx. after cutting & removing stone)
- 2 Large Lemons (or 3 – 4 small)
- 200 grams Blackberries & strawberries (optional, or any other ripe fruit. If not using increase plums by 200g/7oz)
- 800 grams Sugar, granulated (28 oz, 4 cups)
- 240 ml Water (8 fl oz, 1 cup)
- 1 pouch Certo Premium Liquid Fruit Pectin (3 oz/177ml pouch. Or alternative jam gelling agent, as per packet directions)
- Begin by thoroughly cleaning the plums (and other fruits, including lemons). Then cut the plums into ¼ or ⅙s and remove the stone (I cut into ¼s as I used my neighbours plums which are 'Czar' variety and smaller and thinner, more oval shaped than common plums). Also cut the lemons into ¼s and any additional fruit, such as berries, trim any stalks. See Photo 1.
- Wash the fruit once more and rinse. Place a large bowl onto a scale and set to zero, before adding the plums to gauge the weight. This will help determine how much sugar to add. If you don't have scales, well pack a cup or 2 cup, and determine your total volume.
COOK THE FRUIT & SUGAR
- Add the sugar and fruit to a large cooking pot, add in 240ml/1cup/8 fl oz water and mix as best you can. On a medium heat, let the sugar dissolve & the mixture slowly come to a boil. If you have a sugar thermometer, add this to the pan before cooking. See Photo 2.
- Add in the Pectin (Certo liquid pouch),, stir to mix through and then increase the heat a little (med-high), and let the fruit come to a full rolling boil. For a true rolling boil, the volume of the mixture will rise up, and there will be a mass of bubbles. See Photo 3. Another way you can tell is when you stir, if it stops boiling and moving vigorously, then it is not a rolling boil. Apart from testing, don't stir the mixture. Keep an eye on the temperature. You want it to reach 105°c/221°f for jam. (The sugar thermometer shows the different setting temperatures for different things, including jam). Once it reaches that temperature, remove from the heat.
TEST IF THE JAM WILL SET ENOUGH
- To test if you have cooked enough and that the jam will set properly with time, perform this simple test. Place a small plate in the freezer for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, place a spoons worth of the jam on to the plate and place back in the freezer. After 15 minutes, remove and perform this test. Use a finger to push the jam on the plate, away from you, and if it wrinkles it will set properly. (See photo 4). If doesn't, return the fruit back to the stove & bring to a rolling boil for longer and test again.
COOLING, SETTING & STORING
- You can leave the jam for 5 minutes before placing into sterilized jars & sealing. If you want to keep for a long time, you can also water bath/can them. Check this site on Methods Of Canning. You can also at this stage use a sieve or spoon to remove the lemon/peel. See Photo 5.
- Alternatively, if going to consume within 6 weeks, you don't even need to sterilize or water bath the jars. I like to leave the jam closed in the pan overnight, at room temperature (you could place in the fridge, but I never have room for a really big pot!) Next day, you will see how much the jam has thickened and set up. (See photo 6 & video). I added orange extract at this stage. Mixed and tasted and added more till I was happy with the flavour. (Note if you want to use spices, you can add them at the cooking stage). Transfer to the prepared jars and label.
- Store in the fridge (if you did not use a water bath) and always use a clean knife/spoon every time you use the jam. This will reduce likelihood of contamination and penicillin growing.
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Try the jam with my popular British Scone, see below.
DIFFICULTY LEVEL: Easy, beginner
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