A Plum Job

At the weekend, my best friend and I went to a farmers’ market, and she bought 10kg of peaches for stewing and freezing.  The orchardist was pleased enough to empty his box of second-grade peaches (later customers would be compelled to buy the more expensive ones), and offered us a bag of plums as well.  He tossed me a bag and said “Take as many as you want”.

The plums were very ripe, and had been affected by recent heavy rain so were starting to split.  Without any real thought of what to do with them, I happily filled up the bag.  I like plums.  Especially free ones!

When we got home, we split the plums between us (and I got a couple of peaches as well, yummy!).  I thought about making plum sauce, then decided jam would be simpler – fewer ingredients.  I’ve never made jam before.  I picked up some jam sugar and some jars from the supermarket, and called my Mum for hints.  Thanks, Mum!

On Monday morning, I took my plums down to the butcher.  Yes, that is a little odd, but I don’t have kitchen scales and I knew the butcher would weigh the fruit for me.  I should probably take them a jar of the jam, I suppose.  I had 1.25kg of plums, just perfect to use a whole bag of the jam sugar.

So, I counted the plums.  That’s important.  Then I put them into a large pot with a little water, on low heat.

Plums for jam. Lids and rings ready for heating on the back burner.

Slowly, they started to get mushy…

Mushy plums.

As they got very mushy indeed, I was able to start fishing out the stones.

39 plum stones

This is why counting the fruit first was so important!

Aren't they a very bright red?!

Then I tipped in the 1kg bag of jam sugar – it has pectin mixed in, to help with setting – and turned up the heat.

bubble, bubble, toil and trouble!

Luckily, I had remembered to change out of my favourite white t-shirt before we got to this stage.

If it doesn't splatter up the walls, you're probably not doing it right

Somehow, it doesn’t look as gory in the photos.  At the time, I thought my kitchen looked like the set of a horror movie.

Eventually, it was time to test.  I followed instructions, and looked for a skin to form.

Crinkly jam skin. It is very bright red, isn't it!

Woohoo!  I got my warm sterilised jars out of the oven, and started pouring the jam into them.  That was messy.  I was glad there were no kids in the house to “help” with that part.  Then I carefully sealed the jars, and turned them upside down for 20 minutes.

there was a little bit left over so I put it into a clean glass to be used right away

Then I looked at my kitchen.

Icky sticky messy!

Definitely time for a clean-up.  Thank goodness for my new easy-clean kitchen with stain-resistant benchtop!  Then I turned the jars back over, and listened gleefully to them go “Pop… pop… pop…” as they all sealed.  I was very proud of my efforts.

fruits of my labours

And it tastes great!  I had been worried about the setting, and whether I boiled it long enough, but in fact the jam is not the least bit runny.  Rather on the hard side.  That’s ok, it’s fine, and I’ll be less anxious next time.

Now, who wants to come for afternoon tea – scones with plum jam, anyone?

© UpsideBackwards 2011.

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3 Responses to “A Plum Job”

  1. Jill H. Says:

    I will be there for some scones and jam shortly, just as soon as I get this darned teleporter working… I’ll beam to Elkridge and pick up V on the way 😉

  2. ginia Says:

    I’m packing a bag! I even promise to wash up after tea (and you know I’m good for it) 🙂

    • Kate @ upsidebackwards Says:

      We need to get this teleporter up and running asap! I wonder how the USDA/Customs would react if I sent you girls a care package containing a taste of NZ summer plums…? (probably not a great idea, imagine if the glass jar broke on the way 😦 )

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