Monday, August 02, 2021

Spicy Tangy Plum Jam

 It's taken me longer than I had hoped, but today I made some plum jam using the small (an inch to an inch and a half in size) fresh ripe plums that a neighbor gave me. These plums have a yellow flesh, a green to rosy skin that is pretty tart, and a pit that is fairly easy to remove, but which takes up about a third of the plum.

Once processed by rinsing, cutting in pieces and removing the pit, the plums weighed two and 1/4 pounds. the recipe that I used, The Flavor Bender by Dini K., said to use one cup of sugar for each pound of plums. I decided to use brown sugar and to spice it up with a bit of cake spice and some ginger, both fresh and preserved. The tangy part came from the skins.

This is a great recipe. I didn't use pectin but I did grate an apple and use some lemon juice to help it set up as suggested by Dini. The mixture sat in the fridge for two days, except for the lemon juice which I added today when I started to boil the mixture. I made a great jam with just enough sweetness, offset by the tang from the skin and the mix of spices. 

The website, The Flavor Bender, includes great advice about jam making, so do read before going to the actual recipe. Because my jam was made with yellow fleshed fruit, it is an amber color, not the purple on the website, but if you use red or purple fleshed fruit, you will get that color.

Do give this a try...prepping the fruit takes the most time, followed by the stirring of the jam until it is thick enough. I used both a thermometer and the frozen small plate methods for deciding when to stop cooking. I boiled the jars, lids and bands while I was making the jam, so when it was ready I was able to remove the hot jars to a towel and immediately fill the jars. The amazing this was that it made exactly the right amount to fill three very small jars and one pint jar. Not too much, not to little. That never happens! 

Spicy Tangy Plum Jam
 from The Flavor Bender blog by Dini K.

Note: made by weight of prepared fruit - read all of the blog post HERE to get full information about making jam.

2 1/4 pounds fresh plums, washed, cut up and pit removed (from about 3 pounds fruit if small)
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons brown sugar
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon cake spice (mixture of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, cardamom)
1/4 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon finely chopped preserved ginger
/14 cup grated green apple (OK to leave peel on)
1 tablespoon lemon juice

1.             Wash the plums well. To remove the seeds - first cut the plum in half. Next, cut the plum half with the seed, in half again (into quarters). One of these quarters will have the seed attached, which you can easily pull out. Alternatively, you can cut the plum flesh around the seed.

2.     Repeat with all the plums.

3.     Cut all the plums into 1 inch chunks (roughly). It’s OK if the plums are a little crushed at this point, since they will be cooked down anyway.

4.     WEIGH the chopped plums, so you can decide how much sugar needs to be added. Place the plums in a large bowl (large enough to accommodate the sugar that will be mixed in too).

5.     Add sugar, salt, spices, ginger, preserved ginger and apple shreds into the bowl. Mix well.

6.     Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours (or up to 48 hours). Also, place some small saucers / bowls / spoons in the freezer for the jam test (explained below).

7.     When you're ready to cook the jam, scrape all of the plum-sugar mix into a large pot. Add the lemon juice and stir to combine.

8.     Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir the mixture to let it heat evenly. Lower the heat to medium - medium low, and cook until the fruits start to soften.

9.     MASH the plums with a potato masher, OR you can pass about ¾ of the mix through a food mill (this will remove the skins).

10.   Continue to cook the plums until the mixture reduces and starts to thicken slightly. Stir frequently to prevent the jam from sticking to the bottom and burning. While the jam is cooking, sterilize some heat-proof jam jars and lids.

11.           Check the temperature of the plum jam every 10 - 15 minutes (more frequently as it thickens more). Cook the jam until the temperature reaches 220°F (105°C).

12.           If you don’t have a thermometer, you can perform the JAM TEST. To do this, drop a little jam on a frozen surface (saucer / bowl / spoon). Then keep it in the freezer for about a minute and check the consistency. If the consistency is jelly-like without being runny, then you’ve cooked the jam to the right temperature. (If you run a finger through the jam to create a streak, the jam shouldn't join back up in the middle to fill the streak, if it's at the right consistency).

13.           Remove the pot from the heat.

14.           Using clean tongs, clean ladles and clean paper towels, carefully ladle hot jam into the hot, sterilized jars. Please be careful, as the jam and jars will be very hot at this stage (wear gloves or oven mitts to protect yourself).

15.           Screw on the lids while the jars are hot. As the jam and jars cool down, this will create a seal.

16.           Allow the jars to cool to room temperature completely. Then label and store.

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