Friday, 21 August 2015

Feeling plummy - a recipe for spiced plum jam

Just outside my workplace there is the most wonderful plum tree which has been fruiting beautifully for the last few weeks. As I left work the other day I spotted a cheeky squirrel with one of the plums in his chops - it was so large he could barely see over the top of it! I decided it was time for some humans to get the benefit of the bounty and collected up as many as I could.

 Over the last couple of weeks I have managed to gather no less than 8kg of the things! It was time to get my preserving hat on and come up with a recipe - and here it is.

Spiced plum jam

1.8kg plums, halved and stoned
300ml water
1 cinnamon stick
3 star anise
3 balls of stem ginger, finely chopped
Pinch of ground cloves
1.8kg granulated sugar

Add the prepared plums with the water and spices to a very large pan ( a preserving pan if you have one)

Simmer for 35mins (give or take 5 minutes) Stir occasionally.

Turn the heat right down while you fish out the whole spices (at this point you will realise why I didn't suggest you use whole cloves!)

Add the sugar and stir over a low heat until completely dissolved. (The base of the pan shouldn't feel grainy as you drag a wooden spoon across it)

Raise the temperature and bring to a rapid, rolling boil. At this point you must resist the temptation to stir- it is much better left to do its thing.

Pop a sugar thermometer in and watch closely for when it reaches 105°. It should take around 10 minutes. To be sure of a good set, use 'the saucer test' - see below.

Once you are happy that your jam is set, ladel it in to a jug and pour in to sterilised jars. Seal, then pretty the jard up however you like.

Tips and tricks;

The saucer test; Pop a saucer or two in your freezer before you start. When testing if the jam is set blob a little if the jam on to the saucer and then push with your thumb nail. It should 'wrinkle' a little if it is done.

This recipe uses a lot of plums because that is what I had, however it is easily halved.

The recipe makes around 8standard sized jam jars but I find it is always best to sterilised more jars than you think you'll need, just in case!

Vary the spices according to your taste- if you prefer something less pungent, skip out the cloves. For an extra gingery kick you could add ground or fresh ginger as well as stem ginger.

To sterilised your jars wash them in warm soapy water and then dry out in a low oven. Pop the kids and any seals in a pan of gently simmering water for a few minutes.

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