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.