August 17, 2013

Spiced Plum Jam

The day has finally come. I have made JAM!! My first batch of cooked jam, canned and sealed and sterilized and shelf-stable and everything!! I've been talking about it since the beginning of summer, thinking about it nearly constantly, planning my farmer's market trips around it, and now I can finally share! Two completely awesome things about this batch of jam. First, no pectin! For those of you who can't get it where you are, or have reservations about using it, a perfectly set, pectin-free jam! Well, besides the pectin already in the fruit. Anyway. Second, it's a small batch! I didn't even know such a thing existed, honestly. I thought making jam automatically meant counters full of jars, hours over boiling fruit, stains and stickiness and exhaustion at the end. Not this recipe! It makes three or four small jars of jam, and you don't even have to have a whole canning set-up! In fact, you could even just keep them in your fridge, or freeze if you aren't going to use them up soon. And this particular jam would make fantastic gifts! Truly, this whole jam thing... I'm hooked.

Spiced Plum Jam
Printable Recipe

1 quart red plums (about four pounds)
2 cups sugar
zest from 1 large orange
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp vanilla

Prepare four half pint jars, their lids, and a small canning pot. (Boil the jars and lids to sanitize before using) Place a small plate in the freezer (you're going to use this to test the set of your jam later!).

Wash your plums, then pit and chop them. If you like bigger chunks in your jam chop into bigger pieces! Don't peel them, the peels are wonderful in this jam. You should end up with at least 4 cups of chopped fruit.

Combine chopped fruit, zest, and sugar in a large, non-reactive pot. This mixture will bubble up quite a bit, so you need lots of extra space! Stir together until the sugar starts to absorb the fruit juice. Turn heat to high and bring to a boil. Boil the jam over high heat for 15-20 minutes, stirring often to keep it from burning. To test if your jam is ready, spoon a bit of the jam out onto that plate you put in the freezer, then put the plate back in the freezer for 5 minutes. Pull it back out and gently push across the top of the jam. If it has formed a skin that wrinkles up at your touch, it's ready!  When your jam is ready, stir in the spices and vanilla.

Remove the pot from the heat. Ladle into prepared jars. Wipe rims clean, put the prepared lids and rings on tightly and process in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes. (If you don't have a canner, this batch is so small you could use a large pot! Just make sure to put something in the bottom to keep the jars up off the bottom of the pot, and away from each other, some kid of rack, or small balls of foil work too!)

Remove jars from canner and allow to cool 24 hours on the counter before opening.
Yay hooray!! Homemade Jam!!! Oh my goodness this was so satisfying, truly! And may I just say, the best jam I have ever tasted. Ever. In my whole life. I am now spoiled and may never eat store-bought jam again. Seriously, this is squealing-and-dancing-around-the-kitchen delicious.
 I like all my fruity things with a bit of tang, so I recommend adding in a few plums in that are still a bit tart. I had a bag of frozen Satsuma plums from my Spiced Plum Cake last summer (remember those? They're fabulous!!) that added some extra awesomeness to this batch. Then I made another batch with regular red plums that I sliced up and froze before leaving for the cabin. I just let them mostly thaw before making the jam, and it turned out perfect! So you can also use frozen fruit! But I would advise you to only use fruit that you picked up fresh and then froze. You just never know. 
It's sweet and rich and tangy, full of plummy goodness with the warmth of holiday spices and the tiniest hint of orange. Definitely a fall or winter jam. I could not stop licking the plate after I did the set test! And the little bits of peel you leave in basically turn to candy! They're amazing. Ask my Mom, she saw me licking the plate on Skype the night I made it. Now go find some plums, and make yourself the Best Jam Ever!!!


  1. Don't forget to test the "pop" of your lids after they've cooled down. If it is tightly sealed, the lid will be flat and you will not be able to push it in or "pop" it. Then you know you have no air in the jar, hence no bacteria will grow while it's sealed! : >)

  2. April, your jam looks gorgeous! I am going to make apple jelly this year. We have apples ripening on our tree at the moment, but they are small and probably not good for eating. But perfect for apple jelly. I haven't had apple jelly in forever. Can you believe Todd has never had apple jelly??? I know! It's not something they do over here. IN fact they don't do jelly at all here pretty much. Jelly here is Jello. You can't spread that on buttered toast!

  3. I found you on pinterest, and ths recipe turned out amazing! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thank you for letting me know! I'm so glad you liked it :)

  4. This is the jam I've been looking's perfect. It has a lovely jammy consistency and is so easy to make. I know the type of plums can make a difference in taste but this recipe would be terrific with all of them. I love this and will be making loads more over the (aussie) summer and storing it so we don't have to wait a year for some more. Delicious!

    1. Yay!! I'm thrilled you liked it so much, it's absolutely my favorite. I made two batches this past summer and still have a few jars left. I especially love baking with it, putting it in muffins and things... Mmmm... Thank you so much for your comment!


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