Plum Jam

by Susan Penny

Quantity: 2 jam jars, approximately

450g (1lb) plums (when stoned)
450g (1lb) sugar


1  Wash the stoned plums, put in a bowl and sprinkle with the sugar. Leave for several hours or overnight.

2  Put the plums and sugar in a preserving pan or large heavy-based saucepan and heat very slowly. Simmer, stirring all the time, until the sugar is dissolved. Continue to simmer gently until the plums are tender and the skins soft. This will take about 15 mins.

3  Turn up the heat, and bring to a full rolling boil for 10 mins without stirring – until setting point of 105C is reached on a preserving thermometer.  Alternatively, to check for set, spoon a little jam onto a cold saucer (cooled in the freezer), leave for 30 secs, then push the jam with your finger; if the jam wrinkles, it is ready. If not, boil the jam for another 2 mins, turn off the heat and repeat the test. Continue in this way until the jam reaches the setting point.

4  Remove from the heat, skim off any scum.

5  Leave for about 15mins to cool. Pour into warm sterilised jars, seal and label. Fill just below the rim. Place a wax disc on top of the jam (this will prevent mildew forming), then cover with a lid or cellophane circle. Label, and store in a cool, dry place for 1 year. Opened jars should be stored in the refrigerator and used within 1 month. Jam makes a great teacher present or a thank you neighbour gift. Decorate the jar tops with a fabric circle, tied in place with raffia, and then use our downloadable jam pot labels and pot toppers to finish the jars.

Susan Penny on the Handmade Blog
When I was a child I liked to visit my gran in late summer for afternoon tea: fresh bread and home-made jam, sticky buns and seed cake. For me, the favourite part of the visit was exploring her garden. Out from under the watchful eyes of the adults I would find amazing places to sit and dream. The long grass next to the enormous oak gave me shelter from the sun, whilst under the lilac tree, next to the lavender walk; I could breathe in the heady smell of summer and listen to the bees working hard to make honey before autumn.  Like most little girls I dreamt of meeting a handsome prince, and walking down the aisle wearing a beautiful dress and carrying a bouquet of roses, lavender and lilac. But my favourite place in the garden was always under the heavily-laden Victoria plum tree: the sweetness of the ripe plums filled the air, and even before I put the fruit to my lips, I could taste the rich, sugariness of the sun ripened fruit. My love affair with plums has continued to this day: plum jam spread thickly on toast or crusty bread is still impossible to resist.


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