Plums can be overlooked as a jam flavor option. In the grocery store you’ll find strawberry jam, grape jelly, orange-lemon marmalade and maybe something a little off the beaten path like apricot jam. But plums? Not usually an option. Therefore it is best to make your plum jam at home. Once you try it you’ll want to repeat it each year when plums are in season.
The recipe for plum jam is simple and comes from a beautiful book produced by Williams-Sonoma called The Art of Preserving. The photos are gorgeous and many of the jams and jellies are accompanied by recipe ideas which is a very useful effort on the part of the book’s authors, Rick Field, Lisa Atwood, and Rebecca Courchesne.
How to make this Plum Jam Recipe
Plums are an ideal fruit for making jams because the skin is left on the fruit. You can skip the fussy step of removing the skin; it, in fact, holds a lot of the pectin in the fruit which helps the jam to gel.
Wash and cut the plums. Remove the pits. Cut the plums into chunks. What a stunning color!
Next, add the sugar to your plum slices. This looks like a lot of sugar because it IS a lot of sugar.
One of the few pitfalls of making jam at home is that you can no longer pretend that a bit of jam on top of your whole wheat bread each morning might be healthy. Nope, you now possess the knowledge that you dredged your fresh fruit in a sugar bath. But that is ok, the result is delicious. Just go with it.
Put the plum and sugar mixture into a large saucepan and add the lemon juice and water. The recipe stated fresh lemon juice but I recall learning along the way that bottled lemon juice has a more consistent pH level and it is best to use bottled when canning so that is what I did with this plum jam.
Cook, bringing the jam to a full rolling boil then stirring for 15-20 minutes. (The recipe called for 10 minutes but my jam was not to the right stage at that point. It may be due to my altitude in Denver.) This recipe doesn’t require any additional fruit pectin.
Use a canning thermometer to make sure that your plum jam has reached its gelling point, then remove it from the heat, ladled it into the prepared jars and continued with the canning process if desired.
Follow the usual procedure for canning when using a water bath canner: prepare and sterilize your jars and lids. Get your boiling water-bath started before you heat up the plum mixture. You want to time things such that your water-bath is ready when you have filled the jars.
Let the jars cool completely before moving them. They will be hot!
Is Plum Jam the same thing as Plum Jelly?
By definition jam is made from fresh (or frozen) fruit while jelly is made starting with fruit juice. Often jelly recipes will have a step in which the mixture is strained through a cheesecloth so that the resulting jelly is smooth and free of any small bits of fruit.
I think plum jam and plum jelly would be quite similar. The jam is very smooth and free of chunks of plums even though there is not a need to use a blender or hand-held immersion blender to puree the mixture. Plums break down naturally and very easily in the cooking process which creates a uniform result.
How to use Plum Jam
Plum jam is recommended to be used as a topping for vanilla ice cream or as a complement to pork. I plan to try both. And you can’t go wrong slathering plum jam on a fresh piece of homemade bread, of course!
Easy, homemade plum canning recipe
3 lbs plums, halved, pitted and quartered
3 cups of sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup lemon juice
Wash and cut the plums into chunks, removing the pits.
Combine the plums, water, lemon juice and sugar in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil to dissolve the sugar, stirring continuously.
Continue to stir for 15-20 minutes, or until the gelling point has been reached.
Remove from the heat and ladle into glass mason jars.
Proceed with the boiling water canning method, if desired. If not, store the plum jam in the refrigerator.
I processed this jam for 15 minutes (altitude in Denver requires a longer processing time) but in many locations 10 minutes would be the standard.
Keywords: plums, preserving, canning
Canning Supplies to Help you Get Started with Homemade Preserving:
- 12 Quart Canner
- Canning Essentials Set (Super Helpful)
- Canning Jars
- Dissolvable Canning Labels
- Canning thermometer
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Please note that this post was originally published in August, 2012, and was updated in September, 2018.