At our housewarming dinner, we thought it would be sweet to gift everyone who came something homemade. So we asked Alison, our chef for the evening, what she thought we could do and she suggested a fresh plum jam! It was such a special treat, and it’s so delicious. We asked her to share the recipe with us, so we could share it with you.
Makes about 4 cups (4 8 oz. jars)
4 ½ lbs. plums (any type will do, but black, elephant, or santa rosa work best) cut into 1” chunks
2 ¾ cups sugar
3 tablespoons fresh lemon or lime juice
Toss plums and sugar together in a large, heavy-bottomed pot. Let sit at least 15 minutes up to overnight, tossing to coat periodically to dissolve the sugar (this will help coax the juices out of the fruit to give the jam a head start).
Place a small plate in the refrigerator to chill (you’ll use this later).
Bring the fruit to a strong simmer over medium heat until the juices burst and start to boil, 3–4 minutes.
Increase the heat to medium-high. Using a wooden spoon or spatula, cook the jam, stirring occasionally at first and more frequently as the jam cooks and juices thicken (sugar is heavier than water and will concentrate at the bottom of the pot, making the fruit more likely to burn) until most of the liquid has evaporated and the fruit has begun to break down, 40–50 minutes. How much it breaks down will depend on the type of fruit and how ripe it is (i.e. peaches are likely to remain chunkier while plums and apricots will break down almost entirely).
As the jam cooks, the liquid reduces, the sugars thicken and the natural pectins activate. You’ll notice the liquid go from a rapid, rolling boil with smaller bubbles to a slow, thick, tar-like boil with larger bubbles– This is the stage at which it’s most important to stir constantly along the bottom of the pot to prevent scorching and sticking.
Add lemon juice and continue to cook, stirring constantly until the jam has returned to it’s previously thickened state, another 8–10 minutes. To test the jam for thickness, spoon a bit of jam onto the chilled white plate and chill for a few minutes. Drag your finger through it– it should hold it’s shape on either side without appearing watery or runny. If it’s not there yet, continue to cook a few minutes more.
Remove from heat and add any of the mix-ins listed. Divide between jars and seal immediately.