We want Spiced Plum Jam, Not Boiled Prunes
|Italian plums from our backyard tree.|
As a child, I will never forget how my dad would boil prunes on the stove to eat. Yes. Boiled prunes. Why?! Perhaps this is one of the great mysteries of the universe. I gave myself a good blister when I was three years old by burning my little arm on the lid of the boiling pot. I was trying to look inside. I never much liked prunes after that.
I recently lived in a very old house with a large backyard and a plum tree growing right in the middle. I really didn’t know what to do with the plums or what kind they were. So the first summer we just threw them away. (Sad, I know!) Well, I wasn’t interested in prunes. Then the next year I discovered a wonderful use for the Italian Plum tree; Spiced Plum Jam!
This year, sadly, I moved away from the little old house into an apartment with no yard. But I was able to harvest a few plums before I left, shown above for one last batch of jam.
You can use any kind of plums from the grocery store (or a tree if you know of one) for this small batch of jam, just make sure they’re ripe. You want a nice deep color on the peel; no green at all. And they should give a little when you squeeze them gently.
Preparing Stone Fruit Jam for canning
Place two or three clean spoons in the freezer. Take a small knife and slice all the way around the plums from pole to pole. Do not remove the peels- they add flavor and that beautiful deep violet color! Twist open and remove the pit. Slice the halves into quarters and place them into a large pot or dutch oven. Sprinkle the sugar and spices over and stir. Cook on medium-high heat for several minutes, stirring very often. (I would hang out in the kitchen and not try to do any side projects) after a while it will start to look like jam. Pull a frozen spoon out and drop a bit of jam on it. If the jam sets up and doesn’t drip off in a hurry, it’s done. It is possible to over cook this jam. Ask me how I know. So be careful to follow the instructions and notes in the recipe below.
Once your jam sits in a nice little blob on the spoon it’s done cooking! Remember your batch of jam will thicken up as it cools. Now you’re ready to eat, freeze or can your Spiced Plum Jam (or Christmas itself) in a jar!
For more info on Stone fruit, and why on earth it’s called that, see Stone fruit.
Spiced Plum Jam
- Total Time: 1 hours 30 minutes
- Yield: 6 1/2 pint jars 1x
Spiced plum jam is a homemade stone fruit jam cooked with Christmas spices. Along with being a great recipe for canning or fruit preserves, a jar of spiced plum jam makes a beautiful holiday gift!
- 3 pounds of plums, washed, pitted and chopped
- 2 cups of sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg or allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon powdered ginger
- 6 tablespoons store-bought lemon juice
- Place chopped plums in a large pot with non-stick coating or enamel-coated dutch oven. Add sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger and lemon juice.
- Place over medium-high heat and stir very often until the plums have released their juices and flesh has broken down, approx 15-20 mins. Test for desired consistency with a chilled spoon after 10-12 minutes of continuous boiling.
- Remove from heat. Your jam is now ready for canning or freezing. (Or eating!)
Canning: Fill hot sanitized jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace.
Processing times per elevation: Sea level – 1000 feet = 10 minutes; 1000 – 3000 feet = 15 minutes; 3000 – 6000 feet = 20 minutes; 6000 – 8000 feet = 25 minutes
- Prep Time: 40 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Category: Preserves
- Cuisine: American
This recipe looks great. Could you tell how long is the processing time is for canning and how much headspace you usually leave?
So after seeing your comment I re-read through the recipe and realized I had indeed left that vital info for processing out. I have corrected the recipe and added a headspace of 1/4 inch and a processing chart by altitude so it’s more exact to where you might be. Hope that helps!
Maria Braeburn says
Why do you specify store bought lemon juice?
Surely lemons from my garden would better?
Excellent Question Maria! Bottled lemon juice is moderated to always have a consistent pH level. Acidity is crucial when preserving foods like fruit jams; if there’s not enough acidity the food will spoil faster than normal. Fresh lemons can vary greatly in their ph levels depending on their ripeness. So that’s why it’s always best to use storebought lemon juice instead of fresh squeezed. Thanks for asking Maria, I hope that answer makes sense :0)
Can this be made with a sugar substitute? Splenda or stevia?
Sorry for not getting back to you sooner, I’ve been on vacation with no internet and I’m still trying to play catch-up. Sugar substitutes in jams and jellies require entirely new recipes; special sugar-free pectin is required and the ratios of ingredients are different as well. The cool thing about sugar- it’s great at actually “conserving” the fruit because it will essentially “kill” any microbes or yeasts that come in contact with it (often just from the air whenever you open the jar.) Sugar naturally pulls water out of cells, destroying them. It also has the ability to help thicken and caramelize as it cooks. However, there are plenty of recipes out there if you are looking to make preserves without sugar; here’s a good resource to help you get started! http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/how/can_07/peach_pineapple_spread.html
Dave Barton says
I add a 1/4 tsp of cloves to really make this recipe spicy. I lost my mom’s recipe, and found yours. Everything else was the same.
This is one of the best jam recipes (maybe strawberry freezer jam is equal). I must make three batches after sharing with friends and family to have enough for the year!
Thanks so much.
That’s great Dave! I do LOVE clove also. Glad you found the recipe helpful!