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A Jam That’s Just Plum Good…

This entry is part of a series, Pepper Jelly Chronicles»

Blac kPlum

Lots of great-looking fruit in the produce section these days. Apricots have come and gone, but plums and plumcots (and their more exotic cousins) are abundant and rather nicely priced. Since I know some of the Clan enjoy plum flavor a lot, I decided to try my hand at a plum jam. Two versions from one pot, actually. I still had a few nice-looking, golden Habañero chiles in the chillbox…

First, the main fruit. I started with three large, black plums and four medium-sized, ruby plumcots. To these I added a pint of fresh blackberries for their complex flavor, but even more for their natural pectin and acid. I also used a cup of prickly pear juice, since I have that in abundance and it adds nice flavor surprises and sweetness.

I cut the plums and plumcots into small pieces first. I washed the blackberries and put them into the jelly pot and crushed them a bit using a common potato masher. I dumped in the plum bits and the pear juice, then started the heat. (The canner was already heating, and the jars were waiting in a 200° F oven.) I measured out 1½ cups each of sugar and sucralose; not too much sweetener required, with fruit this ripe and delicious! I added a quarter cup of lemon juice to the pot to be sure there was enough acid to activate the pectin.

Red Plums

Once the jam got to a good boil I stirred for a few minutes, to be sure everything was uniformly heated and the fruit had time to release pectin. I used the standard cold-plate method for testing jell point. It took a few more minutes of boiling, but not much! I was tempted to simply add some commercial pectin, but I resisted. These fruits have plenty of pectin in them, even when ripe, so I wasn’t too worried. Sure enough, the jell took nicely on the second test; I moved to canning.

I got four half-pint jars of simple plum jam without any chiles in, and moved to canning them while I got the rest of the materials prepped for the Zing Plum Jam. I took three nice Habañero chiles and carefully cut the flesh from the seeds. I puréed these with a bit of lemon juice and some of the jam; about an ounce or so, not too much. This purée went into the jam and I turned the heat on high and got it all boiling for a minute or two, with vigorous stirring. At this point I had to be careful not to over-cook, as the pectin could break down. While the first round of jam jars were finishing in the canner I filled up three more half-pints with the zesty jam. They were canned in a second round in the boiling water bath. You can’t tell them apart by looking, which means it’s a Good Thing I did two rounds of canning; otherwise somebody might have been in for a hot surprise at breakfast…

If You Can’t Take the Heat, Don’t Jam the Dragon…

Entries in this series:
  1. Red Pepper Jelly Sunday
  2. Pepper Jelly Update: Anybody Got a Gas Mask I Can Borrow?
  3. Tag-Team Teaching in the Kitchen
  4. Lemon Ginger Marmalade, an Easy Spread to Make
  5. Yellow Inferno for Breakfast: Caribé-Habañero Pepper Jelly
  6. Lemony-Hot Jam, a Hybrid Spread With a Slow Burn
  7. Hatch Chiles and Lime, a Great Combo for Jam
  8. Jessica, Your Prickly Pear Cactus Jelly is Ready
  9. Hunting the Wild Prickly Pear in South Texas
  10. Prickly Pear Jelly Redux: Juice, Juice Everywhere…
  11. Charred Pineapple, Habañeros and Bourbon, a Great Jam Combo
  12. How to Push Prickly Pear Jelly Over the Top With Serrano Chiles
  13. Not Your Momma’s Marmalade
  14. A Jam That’s Just Plum Good…
  15. Peaches O’ Eight Jam, the Perfect Pirate Toast Topping
  16. Saint Basil’s Green; It’s Not Just for Breakfast Anymore
  17. Pepper Jelly Redux: Apricot Jam, Extra-Zesty Habañero and Serrano Jellies
  18. Pepper Jelly Sweetened with Stevia: It’s a Hit!
  19. Gardens, Gators, and Green Pepper Jelly
  20. Do Hairless Peaches Make Great Jam? You Betcha…
  21. Roasted Garlic and Caramelized Onion Jam
  22. Cinnamon Plus Heat Equals Magic
  23. March Madness, With Mangos…
  24. StingJam, a New Variety of Pepper Jelly
  25. Butter and Scotch? Not Quite; But a Great Jelly Nonetheless…
  26. White Flesh Peach Zingjam, a Refreshing Topping
  27. More Summertime Fruit Pepper Jellies
  28. Holiday Marmalade with Habaneros and Prickly Pear Juice
  29. Pepper Jelly Makes a Great Christmas Present
  30. Cherry Season is Here, and Cherry Pepper Jellies are Great
  31. Pepper Jellies and the Manzano Chile
  32. Singapore Sling Pepper Jelly! Now You Can Drink Your Toast…
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