Sunday, 11 September 2011

Jam, jam, jam, jam, jam, jam, jam, jam: Plum jam

Or, what to do when all the stirring in the world doesn't seem to be enough. Preserving for idiots (namely me) continues...

So this return to the preserving theme (which, I admit has met somewhat of a hiatus of late, owing to a lack of glutting fruit - on that note, where are the blackberries?) Mark's Mum - she of WI and preserving fame gave me about 4lb of Victoria Plums that she had been given recently. Jam was clearly the way forward, as pots and a recipe arrived at the same time.

So, following a bad day I decided the best way to restore normality was to make preserves. I never said I was thinking rationally.

Before I get to the recipe, it's important to bear in mind the conditions the fruit has come from, this has been a very wet (is that the understatement of the century?) summer and so the fruit we were cooking down took ages to reach setting point - 50 minutes. I may have panicked once or twice during this period - called Mark's Mum 3 times and handed the whole process over to Mark declaring (with a small stamp) that, "I can't make jam anymore!"

If you've not made jam before I would read one of the first of Penelope's Preserves series either, Seville Orange Marmalade, or Strawberry jam, just to get a feel for preserving. Similarly, read this recipe through a few times, get your equipment - big pan, spoon, colander, jars, lids, saucer out and to hand. I wash my jars before I start and put them in the oven on a low heat to sterilise while I'm cooking the jam.

So, today Penelope's Pantry's Plum Preserve

3lb plums (put in a colander and rinse, then chop and stone)
3lb granulated sugar - still no need for jam sugar
Knob of butter
3/4 pint water

Put a saucer in the fridge
Put the plums into a big pan, add the water and cook until soft and pulpy. This took about half an hour.
Remove from the heat and add the sugar, stir until it's dissolved
Put back on the heat, bring to a rolling boil and cook until setting point is reached. This took me about 45 minutes of a rolling boil. Seriously, the summer has been so wet that to reach setting point was a bit of an epic task of endurance (thanks Mark)
Add your butter to disperse any scum
Remove jars from the oven, and put on something heat proof, then fill with jam
Seal with lids, or waxed circles and cellophane
When cool label up and put in your jam cupboard. Not that I have one of those. Nope.

Next up, crabapple jelly, then Bramley apple and mint jelly, then a break from preserves I promise!

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