This homemade plum jam was given to me as a gift from lovely French friends Christian and his wife Kate and it is so delicious I wanted to share my recipe for plum jam this week.I am heading back to Scotland after a wonderful few weeks in the south of France and I know that my garden plum tree will be bursting with fruit when I get back, as it always is during the month of August. So if you have a plum tree in your garden with lots of fruit on it, this is a great recipe to use them up.
Making jam is never a quick process and you need to get it set just right but once you've spent the time getting it perfected, having a stock of homemade jam to use at home and to give as gifts is really lovely. Scrumptious slathered on slices of toast with butter or on fresh croissants.
However, don't forget that you can be versatile and use your jam in other ways too, such as a marinade or glaze for grilled pork or chicken. All you need to do is put 170g of your jam in a bowl and mix with 1 crushed garlic clove, 2 teaspoons of cider vinegar, 1 teaspoon of dijon mustard and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Spread over your meat and leave to marinate for a few hours before cooking in the usual way. Another delicious alternative!
1. Start by sterilising your jam jars. Wash your jars in warm soapy water then rinse well. Place your jars in a preheated oven - around 150C for 20-30 minutes to dry completely. Alternatively place your washed and rinsed jars in your dishwasher on the highest setting.
2. Place the plums and the lemon juice and water together in a jam preserving pan or choose your widest saucepan with a good depth and bring to a simmer until the fruit is soft.
3. Add in the sugar and stir until sugar is completely dissolved. Add in the butter. Turn up the heat and boil for around 25-30 minutes. You can check if it has set by using a jam thermometer if you have one or by putting a small dollop of a cold plate (put the plate in the freezer to cool it beforehand). If the dollop wrinkles up and doesn't run then its set. If it is still runny return the pot to the heat and up to boiling point again and test again after another few minutes.
4. Remove the pan from the heat and skim any scum that has formed on top. Allow your fruit jam to set for around 20 minutes after taking off the heat.
5. Pour the jam into your sterilised jars - using a jam funnel will help save any drips! Store in a cool cupboard.
Like all Scottish children, homemade jam can transport me right back to my childhood. Who doesn't love a glorious, sticky mess of a jar, with an elastic band holding on a bit of celophane and wee paper discs that you need to pick out each and every time you want to spread it on your toast?
My mate Dunc has a plum tree that offers up the most glorious fruit and this week's recipe has reminded me that I need to give him a call! Plum Jam is far more tasty than strawberry and distinctly more adventurous than respberry, this is the perfect way to liven up your piece this August!
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Nicki XBy Nicola Martin