Published on March 7th, 2010 | by Gareth0
Making the most of summer fruit for the winter
Despite being the second week of autumn summer fruits still fill the shops in abundance, turning this into jam is one way to ensure that you enjoy them throughout the winter months. Visit any food shop or market and you will be sure to be spoilt for choice when it comes to jam. However for me there is a certain sense of satisfaction in making your own jam and then admire the finished colourfully filled jars with pride.
After a bit of experimenting this has become one of my favourite jam recipes. It has a nice balance of sharp and sweet making for quite a refreshing preserve. Best of all it is pretty simple and cheap to make.
- 1 kg firm but ripe plums, stoned with skins removed.
- 900gms raw cane sugar.
- ½-3/4 Packet jam setter mix – available from the supermarket.
- 4-6 tsp fresh lemon or lime juice.
First and foremost use firm but ripe fruit. Squashy or bruised plums won’t make good jam so choose carefully.
The jam jars will need to be sterilized by washing them in soapy water, rinsing then boiling them for in water 5 minutes. If you don’t have a suitable saucepan to boil them they can be sterilised by placing the clean jars in the oven on 180 for 5-10 minutes. Keep the jars hot so when you pour the jam into them they don’t explode or crack. This is pretty important as I don’t want to receive complaints or legal threats because someone got covered in boiling jam and shards of glass. The lids also need to be sterilised. Sterilisation is vital to prevent the jam from becoming mouldy or contaminated.
Blanche the plums by plunging them in boiling water for 30-60 seconds and then transfer them to icy cold water. This will make removal of the skins much less tedious. Once the skins are removed halve the fruit and remove the stone. Place in a large heavy based saucepan with the lemon juice and heat slowly. Next add the sugar heating gently until the sugar has dissolved, then increase the heat.
I cooked the fruit and sugar on a medium heat for 20 minutes. Add the jam setter/pectin mix as per directions on packet and boil jam mixture on a high heat for 5 minutes. Test a spoonful of the jam to see if it has set. This is easily done by putting a small plate in the freezer for 10 minutes, remove from freezer and put the spoonful of hot jam on the plate. After the jam has cooled (about 5 minutes) the surface should wrinkle when you push it with the back of a teaspoon or your finger, make sure the jam has cooled before sticking your digits in. If the jam doesn’t wrinkle it hasn’t set, so boil for a further 5 minutes and repeat the test. Unless of course you enjoy runny jam.
Lastly pour the jam into the jars seal with the lid and turn upside down to cool. A handy tool to use is a jam funnel which is pretty readily available from most cooking shops.
The same recipe works equally well for apricots and nectarines. A tasty addition is a vanilla pod split end to end and scraped (contents into pan) when cooking the fruit. Discard the pod when the jam is ready to transfer to jars. The finished plum jam is perfect on its own with fresh sourdough bread.