damson plum jam: foody fridays
Harvest Season is here! I am preparing to make my annual Damson Plum Jam from plum trees in the backyard. Damson Plums are very tiny silvery looking plums, what they lack in size, they make up for in taste. They are the preferred plums to make preserves and jam out of.
To make the jam, you will need: 3 pounds Damson Plums, 1/2 cup water, 6 cups sugar, two large pots, a stirring spoon, canning jars, canning jar grabber, canning funnel, magnetic lid lifter for canning, cherry pitter, canning jars and lids. (I typically end up with tons of plums so I repeat this recipe until either I run out of plums or canning jars).
Wash plums thoroughly, pit them with cherry pitter and place in large pot, add water, and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly to avoid burning and adding more water if necessary. The plums will release their own water and the skins will slip off, leaving a soupy mess. The cherry pitter is crucial, unless you want to strain the plums with cheesecloth. I prefer having skins in the preserves, so fishing out each little pit becomes a nightmare--just pit them and you save yourself the hassle. You will want to cook them 10-15 minutes.
Allow the mixture to cool slightly.
Add sugar. Some people prefer less, some more. I prefer less, so 4.5 to 5 cups is about right to counteract the tartness of the plums. Just add sugar to your taste preference. Place the pot back on the stove, and cook for 20-30 minutes, stirring constantly.
I like the consistency to be a bit 'country style' so I add no to little pectin. If I do add it, it is only a couple tablespoons, not the entire packet. I like it to look more natural than 'gel' consistency.
If it's a little runny, it will still be delicious--and perfect on french toast and pancakes!
While the jam is cooking, or simultaneously, I boil the canning jars in another pot of water for 10 minutes--taking them out with a jar lifter and placing them on a towel to dry and evaporate the water off. Lids need only 5 minutes in the boiling water--retrieve them out with a magnetic lid lifter.
Once the jam is ready, place a canning funnel onto the top of a jar and ladle in the plum mixture. The canning funnel prevents a mess. Place a lid and a ring on each jar and tighten as much as you can. When you have 4-6 jars full-place them back into the boiling water and create the vaccum seal by boiling them for 10-15 minutes. (Water must be deep enough to cover jars) Remove them with the jar lifter and place back on towel. Repeat until jam and jars are gone. Listen for the 'pop' and you canning is complete. If any jars do not seal, you can re-boil them to try again or just refrigerate the mixture and use within a week or so. Label your plum creations and enjoy for up to a year-ish.