This is the final segment of my STOP FOOD WASTE Campaign blogs. Every summer, Mr G makes plum jam from our own trees as well as any fruits that could be cheap in the market. There is a bit of work involved and it does get quite hot in the kitchen during the summer months here in Canberra as it gets up to the 36 to 40°C mark. But the taste of homemade jam beats any commercial ones and it makes the effort so worthwhile.
The measurements will get you approximately 6 jars and around 8 to 10 cups of jam. You can omit using the jam setter but it will make the cooking process just that tad bit longer. Mr G uses the same recipe to make raspberry jam.
2 kg firm PITTED/DESEEDED plums - see notes
2 kg white sugar
I packet jam setter
Wash and dry 6 to 8 jam jars. Make sure that there are no labels still stuck on the jars. Set aside. Put 2 small plates in the freezer. Preheat oven to 150°C.
Cut plums in half. Remove and discard stones. Place plums in a large, heavy base pan and add 4 cups water. Bring slowly to the boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 20 to 30 minutes or until plums are very soft.
Meanwhile, place sugar in a deep baking dish and place in the oven, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until just warmed. Take the sugar out and turn the oven heat down to 100°C. Quickly place the jam jars in the oven (you don’t want your sugar to get cool whilst you are doing this) to sterilise them. You can leave them in the oven whilst you continue making the jam.
Add the warmed sugar to the pan of plums and stir constantly over a low heat until the sugar dissolves. Increase heat and boil 50-60 minutes or until the jam reaches setting point (see notes). Regularly skim off any scum that forms on the surface during cooking. Stir the mixture often, particularly toward the end of cooking time, to ensure the jam does not scorch on the base of the pan.
When the jam appears to be thick, test for setting (see notes). Ladle the jam into the sterilised jars and seal. Invert the jars for 2 minutes then turn upright and set aside to cool.
• Choose good quality fruit - firm and just ripe, without blemishes or bruising.
• Make sure that the weight is the weight for the pitted fruit. You should buy about 3 kg of fruit to get 2 kg. If you use the un-pitted measurements as your starting measurement, your jam will be too sweet and it will caramelise in your jars.
• Use a new wooden spoon or a spoon that you can set aside to use only for jam making. If you have used the spoon to cook other food with, the taste may transfer to the jam – you wouldn’t want garlic or curry tasting jam!
• To test jam’s setting point, drop a teaspoon of jam onto a chilled saucer. Freeze for 2 minutes or until cooled to room temperature. Run your finger through the jam. If the surface wrinkles slightly and the jam stays in 2 separate portions, it is ready to bottle.
Our plum tree is already in bloom. Soon all these flowers will be fruit - yum, yum. The picture below is one of the varieties of plums we have in our garden. (Source: WIKIMEDIA)