Making this plum jam recipe is fun and easy. You may ask, does plum jam need pectin? The answer is no, plum jam is a relatively easy jam to make and requires no added pectin. Plums are one of the fruits that naturally contain a high level of pectin along with fruits such as apples, gooseberries and citrus fruits. Fruits that are low in pectin are soft fruits such as strawberries, blackberries and cherries to name a few. When making bramble jelly, as my mum would make many years ago, we used blackberries and apples, the apples naturally have the pectin needed to make the jam set correctly. Turning a glut of seasonal fruit into delicious pots of jam that will keep for months at a time when correctly made can be a pleasure.
When I say correctly made, I mean firstly that you add fruit and sugar in the right quantity and checking first whether pectin is needed for the type of fruit you intend to use. Sterilizing your jars before using them is also paramount to the storage of the jam but I’ll come to that further in the recipe. At the time of writing Plums were in season and I happened to have plenty of ripe plums ready for picking in my garden. Firm, slightly under ripe is best for jam making.
1kg /2lb Plums
1kg /2lb Sugar
A small knob of butter, 20g / 1 teaspoon
1 1/2 Teaspoons lemon juice
Use 3 500g Jars or equivalent smaller jars.
You will need a small tea plate or saucer to put in the freezer for a few minutes toward the end of the jam making process.
Sterilizing the jars
I prefer the oven method of sterilizing jars.
Put the oven on at 120c or Gas mark 1
Wash the jars thoroughly with hot soapy water, making sure to do the same for the lids. Rinse well.
Put the jars and lids upside-down into the pre-heated oven on a shelf for roughly 10 -15 mins.
Leave in the oven until you are ready to use them, this should keep them sterile.
Preparation time: 15mins
Cooking time: 1hr 20min
Makes roughly 1.5kg /2lb of Jam.
Calories per 50g serving, 131
Use 3 x 500g Jars or equivalent smaller jars.
Start by washing the plums well before carefully cutting in half to remove the stone and stalk.
Once prepared, add the plums to a heavy based pan with the water and lemon juice. Gradually bring to a boil, stirring regularly, before reducing the heat and simmering until the plums have softened, taking roughly 30 mins.
Add the sugar and keeping on a low heat, stir until dissolved completely. Bring up the temperature to a steady boil and if it starts to froth, add the knob of butter to reduce the froth, now let the jam boil rapidly, what is called a rolling boil. Once boiling has been continuous for over 4 mins, start to check for a setting point. Bring the saucer or tea plate out of the freezer and put a small amount of jam onto the cold surface and after a few seconds, check for a setting point. Using the tip of a finger or as I prefer, the back of a spoon, push across to see whether it will wrinkle. If it seems a little too soft, it isn’t at a setting point so continue to rapid boil and re test at 3-minute intervals until you find the setting point. Being careful throughout of course not to get hot jam splatters onto yourself, it will hurt, I can vouch for that.
Once the plum jam is at setting point, take off the heat. You will now be ready to take the jars out of the oven to fill with yummy homemade plum jam.
Be very careful when filling jars with jam, both the jars and jam will be extremely hot to handle.
Fill each jar level with the bottom of the rim, and check for bubbles, if so give a little tap to let them rise. Seal the lids on while all still scorching hot to form a good seal. Some like to put a circle of greaseproof paper on top of the jam before sealing the lid on, but that is personal preference. Check that the lid has sealed after cooling by pressing the top of the lid, it shouldn’t be possible to press it down. There are some lovely jam labels and frilly tops to use if you shop around, and they can make great personal gifts too.
Plum Jam will keep in the fridge for up to 3 months once open or up to a year in a cupboard at room temperature while still sealed. I hope you give this a try, and don’t forget to adapt the amounts according to how much fruit you have available. The colour of the jam depends on the variety of plum used, some are paler in colour, the variety of plum I used is a European variety with a dark, rich colour which reflects on the jam colour when finished.