“ … And I assure you I am quite as fond of jam now as I used to be …” Picture of Dorian Gray
My plum tree (Victoria) seems to be suffering this weekend. Her gnarled branches buckling under the weight of the most extraordinary display of fruity abundance. Four large branches have snapped like twigs giving her a rather sad and droopy silhouette.
Nothing for it except to pick plums for pies, crumbles and of course jam …
Here is an easy recipe for the most delicious plum jam:
Makes about 4 x 400g jars
Rinse the plums, removing any stray leaves, stalks and twigs as you go. Halve them and remove the stones. Crack six or so of the stones with a hammer and discard the rest.
Tip the fruit, sugar, water and reserved stones into a deep, stainless steel saucepan and bring to the boil. (You will find the water only partially covers the fruit.) Turn the heat down so that the fruit simmers to partial tenderness. You can expect this to take about 30-40 minutes, depending on the ripeness of your plums.
To test if the jam is set, put a little on a cold saucer and place in the fridge for five minutes. Run your finger through the jam on the saucer. If it has formed a thin skin, it is ready to pour into jars.
Scrape off any froth with a draining spoon, lifting out the stones that have risen to the surface. Ladle the jam into warm, sterilised jars and seal.
This is the most straightforward of jam methods, producing a softly set preserve that will keep in a jar for a couple of weeks in the fridge. To make a jam that will last longer, you will need to boil for a little longer so that it sets more firmly. Including some of the fruit’s stones is not necessary, but it can add a faint almond note to the finished jam.
All images by Julie Eagleton.