Our farm stall has been replenished with lots of new home-grown, home-made jams. Currently we have:
Rhubarb and Gooseberry
Hot Chilli and Apple
We also have our own raw honey, our very free-range, multicoloured duck and hen eggs, and of course our own rare-breed, free-range, Large Black bacon and sausages.
The past few years haven’t been brilliant for plums but this year one of my czar plum trees in the orchard came into its own. Plums were squashed together in an extraordinary number on it. These plums ripen quite early and are very tasty, but there is a limit to how many I can shovel in to my mouth in a day – rest assured that limit is quite high.
While the golden gages and green gages are still not as productive as I hope they will be one day (when they have recovered from sheep nibbling and yearly aphid attacks), I did manage to pick a box of these and another large box of early Victoria plums with help from Nathan who is taller than me so can reach the higher branches.
It is time for plum jam.
Plum Jam: an equal amount of plums and sugar depending on the size of your pan – largish splash of water if you fancy.
You can stone the plums in advance if you want (easy if they are really ripe) or wait until the jam is made, if they are not quite so ripe or you just want to get the jam started. If you think the plums might be maggoty it is a really good idea to stone in advance and discard the maggots – no one likes maggots in their jam.
I have a large jam pan which will take 2-2.5kg of fruit so this is what I usually use – don’t forget you have to add the same amount of sugar. I also add a splash of water or two. Heat gently until the sugar melts and the plums start to soften, then turn it up and bring to the boil. Cook until it reaches setting point – use a thermometer to discern this or the wrinkle test on a cold plate – a spoonful of jam popped on a cold plate and put back in the fridge/freezer should after a few minutes wrinkle when pushed with a finger. Remove the stones if you couldn’t be bothered before, then put into sterilised jars and seal.
I don’t like my jam overly sweet and this certainly isn’t.
N.B. Damson jam and hedgerow jelly will be coming soon and possibly even raspberry jam if I don’t gobble up all the raspberries and make myself sick!