Our plum tree took us by surprise this year. After years of not producing any fruit worth mentioning, it exploded with an abundance of succulent pinky plums. I have never eaten more delicious plums in my life. And there are so many of them! Not only are we having them and the birds having them, but also our neighbors helped themselves (some invited and some not). And the tree keeps on producing. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I pruned the tree heavily in early Spring, although later I learned from TV that you are not supposed to prune the plum trees drastically as this might finish them off ... Whatever it was, it worked.
We couldn't eat the plums fast enough so I decided to make a plum jam. The recipe I used is a simple and quick one. I used:
• 4 kg of plums
• two lemons (they help to keep the jam color lighter)
• 3.5 kg of jam sugar (this is sugar with added pectin which helps to set the jam so it can be prepared quickly and the fruit remains fresher)
• and a bit of butter.
I also prepared a big size stainless steel cooking pot and a small plate which I later used for testing if the jam is ready.
I washed the recycled jars and sterilized them by putting them in the oven, set to 100 degrees Celsius (only the jars, not the jar tops) for about 30 minutes. I sterilized the jar tops by putting them in a bowl and pouring boiling water over them to cover them completely and I left them there for about 10 minutes, then I dried them. You can also use the hot jars straight from the dishwasher, but they have to be really hot.
I put the little plate in the fridge to cool. After washing the plums I removed the stones and cut the plums into little pieces. I put them in the pot together with the juice of two lemons and cooked them slowly until they became quite liquid. Do not allow it to boil at this stage.
I added the jam sugar and stirred until the sugar was dissolved, being careful not to boil the mixture. I added two knobs of butter, then increased the heat to the maximum and boiled the jam for about 10 minutes. You can stir to help the water to evaporate.
Now it was time to make a test. I took the plate from the fridge and poured a little jam on it. I left it for a minute, then tried to push the jam sample with a spoon. If the surface wrinkles the jam is ready. If it doesn't wrinkle, cook the jam for a few more minutes and do the test again.
It is very important to pour the hot jam into hot jars, the hotter the better. I wore thick rubber gloves while handling the hot jars. I used the funnel to fill the jars with jam and wiped the edges clean before closing the jars firmly.
As the jars with jam cool down, they close even more tightly.
We are going to eat this jam not only with scones and pancakes but I will also add it to apples when I make a crumble desert.
I must say jam making was very satisfying. Not only did it give me a nice feeling of creating something delicious that will be enjoyed for months to come by us and our friends, but it was also very inexpensive, as I took what was available and made something yummy with it.
Happy jam making