We have the most beautiful plum tree in our front yard. Each year I like to make a batch of plum jam as Christmas gifts for our family and friends. The inspiration came from my dad who is always making his own jam and tomato chutney. We just can’t get enough of it in our house!So when I discovered we had a plum tree in our front yard the call went out to dad …
Our plum tree has come to life. Miss E and I picked a bucketful of plums
today, but now I don’t know what to do with them?? Any suggestions?
- 4 to 5 medium sized jars or glasses
- 1 kg of plums, quartered and stones removed (2.2 pounds)
- ½ to 1 kg of sugar (1.1 to 2.2 pounds)
- A piece of lemon rind
1. Make sure the plums are ripe, if possible allow them to ripen on the tree … this will eliminate the need to add pectin (which makes jam set).
2. Wash the glasses or jars in hot water and stand them upright on an oven tray. Place tray in the oven on a low heat … 125 degrees celsius (257 fahrenheit). This will warm and sterilize the glasses.
3. Wash the fruit and cut the flesh from each side of the stone. Discard the stones and stalks. Weigh the flesh. You want about 1 kg (2.2 pounds) of prepared fruit to stew.4. Put a tiny amount of water in a large, heavy based saucepan – add the fruit – and gently bring to the boil.
7. Stir in the sugar – white or raw it doesn’t matter.
As a rough rule of thumb the usual quantities are 1 kg of sugar to 1 kg of fruit. However this will depend upon your taste (basically how sweet you want your jam). Dad doesn’t like his jam too sweet … so he halves the amount of sugar (½ kg of sugar to 1 kg of fruit). I have a sweet-tooth … so I would add about ¾ kg of sugar to 1 kg of fruit.
8. On a high heat, bring the mixture to the boil, stirring constantly.
9. Boil rapidly on high for about 10 to 15 minutes. The bubbles will be foaming and fast to begin with. As the mixture thickens, the bubbles will become larger and slower … not unlike a hot mud pool.10. There are a couple of ways to know your jam is ready …
- the slow bubbling of the liquid
- Let the mixture fall of the edge of the wooden spoon. Once the mixture begins to flake off the spoon it’s getting ready.
- Put a plate in the freezer. Once you think the mixture is nearly ready, put a small amount on the cold plate. If you see a skin start to form then the jam is ready.
11. Once your jam is ready, turn off the heat. Skim the surface of the jam, taking off any scum that may be there.
12. Take the jars out of the oven. Ladle your jam into the warm jars leaving a little space below the rim.
13. Wipe the jars with a warm cloth to clean any jam that may have spilled.
14. Cover with a cloth and allow to cool completely.15. When the jam has cooled, cover them with a couple of layers of cling wrap, put on lids if you have any, or secure with elastic-bands. I like to decorate my jars with pretty cloth covers and ribbon.
16. Write the name of the jam and date (“Plum 12/14”) on a sticky label, and keep stored in the fridge.Making your own jam isn’t hard, it just takes a bit of time and practice. As my dad would say … it’s experiment and experience … same as ever!
What homemade Christmas gifts are you giving this year?
What’s your favorite family or homemade recipe?