I have been wanting to make my own preserves for a very long time. There is something about it, seeing jars filled with gem coloured jams, I thought it must really elevate you to domestic goddess status… challenge accepted!
I decided to make plum jam because we had a lot of plums around and I love the tanginess of plum jam. I got the fantastic “The Preserving Book” by Lynda Brown from Ma and Pa for Christmas and I just haven’t been able to stop poring over the beautiful pictures and hugely informative content. The following recipe comes from this impressive tome. The lime gives the jam a beautiful lift and helps the jam to set perfectly (citrus fruit contain good amounts of pectin in the skin and flesh). Unfortunately, I have not yet reached domestic goddess status. When boiling for a set, most of the pulp burnt and stuck to the bottom of the pan as I discovered when trying to ladle into perfectly sterilised jars. I thought that I may have salvaged the situation by carefully ladling off the non-black jam on top and still manage to get two jars (one that I was hoping to give as a birthday present that night) but then I knocked over the second jar.
Hot jam went everywhere and I burst into tears. My poor sisters were trying to help solve the situation, but the jam was too hot to clean up and I had decided that it was all a failure. Ah well, I still have one pot of jam in my fridge and it is damn fine, even if I do say so myself. Morning toast is now even more satisfying.
Plum and Lime Jam (From The Preserving Book by Lynda Brown)
900g Plums (a mix of firm and ripe is good)
Zest and juice of 1 Lime
Knob of Butter
Place plums (whole and washed) into a large saucepan with a heavy base (preserving pan if possible!!) and add water. Bring slowly to the boil, recduce the heat, and simmer gently for 20-30 mins, depending on ripeness of fruit, until very pulpy.
Add the lime zest, juice and sugar. Heat gently stirring until all the sugar has dissolved. Stir in the butter. Bring to the boil and boil rapidly for about 10 mins or until setting point is reached. Remove the pan from the heat while you test for a set.
Use a slotted spoon to scoop out the plum stones and skim off any surface scum, then ladle into warm, sterilized jars, cover with discs of waxed paper, seal, and label. Store in a cool, dark place, and refrigerate after opening.