Have you ever seen that cart of produce in the grocery store that has some sign on it that says, “Not perfect but still a good buy”? Well, This is how this recipe came to be. There were plums, peaches and pluots (mixture of plums and apricots), apples, grapes, oranges, etc on this cart one day at my local store. I grabbed all the decent looking fruit and proudly paid $5 for about 8 pounds of fruit. Score. But now what? I knew those plums were gonna’ be prunes in a matter of days… or at least grow fur.
Here ya’ be. Jessie’s Plum Jam.
4 C chopped, peeled, pitted plums (I had a combination of red plums, black plums, and some pluots)*
—-You can skip the peeling part because they have very thin skin, (Careful, they get their feelings hurt easily. Get it? I know. I’m hilarious.) but I found that the skin that I didn’t peel off, eventually fell off during cooking and I had to take it out of the boiling hot jam so do yourself a favor and peel them before you cook them.
2 C sugar
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
zest of a lime
juice of 1/2 a lime (don’t use the whole lime because it might make the jam too loose)
Place all in a pan on the stove and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally with a potato masher or fork to help break up the pieces of fruit.
As it boils, foam will begin to form on the surface. Take a spoon and scrape that off and pitch it. Keep cooking until that foamy stuff no longer grows on the surface (a little is okay. You’ll never get all of it). You should be able to tell it’s getting thicker. These stone fruits have natural pectin that thickens the jam when it’s boiled.
Once it’s thickened slightly you can carefully ladle the mixture into clean jars. I placed both jars in the freezer once they cooled for about 20-30 minutes. I thought this might help with the thickening. I’m not sure if it did or not, but it’s what I did. Take it or leave it. The next morning I took the small jar out of the freezer and let it come to room temperature and it was delicious. A little thinner than most jams and jellies you buy at the store but that’s what I liked about it. I knew exactly what was in it. It was homemade.
Later that day, to keep myself from eating the whole jar, I made a Crunchy Layered Coffee Cake with Jam. Yes. Yes, I know. Now, I had to struggle not to eat the whole pan of coffee cake, too.
*just a note, this is a small batch of jam that I did not ‘seal’ in the jars. I knew we would eat it right away so I didn’t worry about it. My recipe is 2:1. So if you have one cup of fruit, use a 1/2 cup of sugar. If you have 8 cups of fruit, use 4 cups of sugar. If you use other fruit, you may need to use pectin from a package. Not all fruit creates natural pectin the way these stone fruits do. AND, if you use the package of pectin I think you have to use more sugar. It sounds complicated but it’s not. Just research it before you start.