There is something to be said about making something out of nothing. I know what it is like to be completely bombarded with fruit from your trees. It stresses me out. I find my self force feeding it to the family, and then no one is really enjoying it. I don’t want to waste a single bit – and that’s why canning is just such a gift. I have found my calling.
The other week I happened to see my neighbor outside. It was just after I finished making the fig jam from my other neighbor’s bounty. He mentioned that his plum-tree was exploding with fruit this year. Little did he know who he was really talking to…not all of my neighbors know about my little hobbies. I am not a big fan of plums, but that was before I started jamming. My eyes got bigger, as I almost burst with excitement. He asked if I wanted some – and boy did I ever. I asked if he could spare about 5 pounds, and he looked at me like I was crazy. I told him that I recently became obsessed with making jam, and I was dying to try this Damson Plum Jam (slightly adapted below) that I found in the Food in Jars book. I promised I would bring some over for them afterwards.
I had no idea that plum jam could taste so good. I was also shocked that it came out such a beautiful purple color – especially when the flesh is basically a golden-yellow. I guess just a little of the purple skin goes a long way, even though all the fruit was peeled. I decided to add a little cinnamon because my family loves that spice – and it was amazing. It was so good that I actually called up my neighbors and asked if they had another 5 pounds to spare. It was like a win-win for both of us – they gave the plums to someone who was going to put them to good use, I got to make jars and jars of delicious plum jam, and they got some as well. My husband was so proud – who would have thought that plums would give us all so much joy!
- 8 cups of damson plum pulp, from about 4 1/2 pounds
- 4 cups of sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
- 2 packets (1 box) liquid pectin
Fill your canning pot with water and begin to bring it to temperature. Wash your jars and rings in warm soapy water and set aside. Put your lids in a small pot of water and heat (but do not boil) in order to soften the sealing compound.
Put plums in 1 cup of water, and simmer until the skins pop. Then peel and pit the plums – and squish in your hands until you make pulp. Add plums and sugar to a large, non-reactive pot. Bring to a boil and cook for about 10-15 minutes, until the jam begins to look molten and syrupy. Add the pectin, cinnamon and lemon juice/zest and bring to a rolling boil for a full five minutes.
Turn off the heat under the jam and fill jars. Wipe rims and apply lids. Screw on the bands and lower into the water. Process in the hot water bath 10 minutes. When time is up, remove from water and cool on the counter. When the jars are cooled, check the seal by pressing on the top of the jar. If there’s no movement, the jar has sealed. Store up to one year in a cool, dark place.
Makes 4 pints (yield varies depending on width of pot, cooking length and juiciness of fruit).
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