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Easy Plum Jam Recipe

This easy, no pectin plum jam recipe is perfect for those new to canning and preserving. It is a simple recipe that lets the flavor of the plums shine through. The optional addition of fresh rosemary while the plums cook down adds a lovely but subtle piney flavor. Directions for canning this easy plum jam are also included.

You could leave the rosemary out altogether for an uncomplicated, straightforward plum jam, or you could try another spice or herb. I’ve listed some ideas if you want to try your hand and add your own spin to your plum jam.

This simple and easy plum jam is made without pectin. Not that there is anything wrong with pectin, I just prefer the pure flavor of the fruit. Adding pectin would give the jam a bit more ‘gel’ to it, but in general, I rarely use it, preferring ‘no pectin’ jams, jellies, and preserves.

Jars of Jam

Can I refrigerate or freeze my homemade plum jam?

I will be giving directions for canning this plum jam, but if you would rather just refrigerate it, it should keep for about 6 months to a year in your refrigerator. You could also freeze the jam; just be sure to leave enough headspace (a minimum of 1/2″) for it to expand in the freezer.

Jam on Toast

What is the difference between Jams, Jellies, and Preserves?

Jellies are typically a clear spread made from the juice of the fruit. Typically the solids are removed by straining through a fine mesh colander or muslin.

Jams are spreads containing pieces of fruit, either as small chunks, pureed, or mashed. Jams are also typically a bit looser and more spoonable than firm jellies.

Preserves will be ‘chunkier’ than jams or jellies as they typically container larger pieces, or even whole pieces, of fruit. Preserves are also the least gelled of the three.

Plums and Rosemary in Canning Pan

What Are Some Flavorings You Could Add to Your Jam, Jelly, or Preserve?

The possibilities are endless regarding the flavorings you could add to your jams, jellies, or preserves. As long as you don’t mess with your acidity, which is necessary to eliminate botulism spores, you can play around with the flavor of your preserves.

Some of my favorite jam flavorings are:

  • Cinnamon Sticks
  • Green Cardamom Pods
  • Vanilla Beans or Seeds
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Ginger
  • Citrus Zest
  • Lavender
  • Basil
  • Thai Basil
  • Mint
  • Nutmeg
  • Black or Pink Peppercorns
  • Tea Bags (think Earl Gray, Chamomile, etc…)

In terms of ‘how much?’, my guidance would be to go sparingly. You don’t want to overpower the fruit; just barely hint at the flavoring. For ground spices, start with no more than 1/2 teaspoon for every 4 pounds of fruit. For sprigs of herbs, whole cinnamon, or vanilla beans, consider 2-3 sprigs/sticks/beans for every 4 pounds of fruit. And plan to remove the solid add-ins before you put your jam, jelly, or preserve in a jar.

Also, consider adding some flavoring in the form of juice, tea, vinegar, and alcohol. The alcohol content is minimal, but they do add nice flavor boosts. You would add 1-2 tablespoons of your liquid flavoring after your jam is processed, right before canning your plum jam or any jam. Some liquid flavorings include:

  • Rum, especially dark rum
  • Amaretto
  • Tequilla
  • Cointreau
  • Gin
  • Orange Juice
  • Maple Syrup
  • Elderflower Syrup
  • Ginger Syrup
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Kirsch

Some of my recipes incorporate a few of these additional flavorings. Blueberry Jam with Chamomile Tea steeps a tea bag with the blueberries as they cook down. If you are interested in a spicier jam, check out this Spiced Golden Plum Jam redolent with ginger, cinnamon, and cardamom. The addition of a spiced rum, paired with cinnamon and cardamom, creates this warming Rum Spiced Pear Jam.

Some of these links may be Amazon affiliate links and I may earn a small commission off of the sale of these products to help defray the costs of operating this site, but the price you are charged is not affected. You can see my full disclosure policy here.

Some of these links may be Amazon affiliate links and I may earn a small commission off of the sale of these products to help defray the costs of operating this site, but the price you are charged is not affected. You can see my full disclosure policy here.

While boiling water canning isn’t hard, it does require a few pieces of equipment to make the task much easier:

The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving is my bible. Even if I think I could make the recipe in my sleep, I double-check myself against the Ball Book…that whole botulism thing. It should be your first purchase if you are new to canning. My cookbook library inventory recently expanded with the addition of The All New Ball Book Of Canning And Preserving: Over 350 of the Best Canned, Jammed, Pickled, and Preserved Recipes! Another great canning and preserving resource is the National Center for Home Food Preservation at the University of Georgia website.

More Plum Recipes

If you are blessed with a plethora of plums, consider this easy Yogurt Plum Cake or this Spiced Golden Plum Jam.

Easy Plum Jam with Rosemary

A simply flavored and easy Plum Jam recipe made without pectin. The optional addition of a sprig of rosemary adds a subtle piney hint.
4.67 from 9 votes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Water Bath Canning Time 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Course Canning, Preserving, Jam + Jellies
Cuisine American
Servings 5 half pints
Calories 477 kcal


  • 4 pounds ripe black plums pitted and diced
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 Sprigs of Rosemary or add a flavoring of your own…see blog post for ideas


  • Prepare canner, jars, and lids. Wash your jars and lids. Sterilize your jars in a large pot filled with water. Bring the water to almost a simmer over medium heat. Keep the jars in the simmering water until you are ready to fill them. Use a jar lifter to remove them from the water when you are ready to fill them, dumping the hot water back into the pot when you remove each jar from the water. Right before you are ready to can, put your lids in a small pot or bowl with hot, but not boiling water. Put some additional white vinegar in a small bowl, alongside a clean washcloth or paper towel. Keep the water in your canning pot at a simmer while you fill your jar. See The The All New Ball Book of Canning and Preserving for additional guidance
  • Place a saucer with 3 spoons on it in your freezer
  • Put the plums, sugar and rosemary (optional) in a wide pot or preserving pan.
  • Bring to a low simmer, stirring frequently.
  • Once simmering, continue to cook for 7 minutes until the plums release their juices.
  • Pour the plums into a colander placed over a bowl, gently stirring the plums to further release any juices.
  • Return the juice and the rosemary sprig back to the pan and bring to a boil over high heat. Gently boil for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the syrup is thick and reduced.
  • Remove the rosemary sprigs (or other added spice)
  • Return the plum and accumulated juices to the pan with lemon juice.
  • Simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring frequently until a small dab of the jam placed on the plate in the freezer yields slightly when pushed.
  • Prepare your work surface On a clean cloth, lay out your jar lifter, bubble remover/lid lifter, funnel, bowl for lids in hot water, bowl of vinegar and clean cloth.
  • Remove the jam from the heat and place on trivet where you will be canning. (If you will not be canning the jam, fill your jars, allow them to cool and then refrigerate.)
  • Using jar lifer, remove one jar at a time from the hot water.
  • Spoon your jam into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Headspace is measured by laying your headspace gauge on the rim of the jar. In this case, have the notch next to ‘1/4 inch’ laying on the rim of your jar. Your jam should just touch the bottom of the gauge.
  • Remove air bubbles and wipe the rim with vinegar.
  • Center lid on the jar.
  • Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip tight. Fingertip tight is defined as tightening just with your fingertips, not needing the palm of your hand to tighten.
  • Place jars in canner, making sure they are completely covered with water by 2 inches.
  • Cover pot and bring to a boil.
  • Once boiling set your timer and boil for 10 minutes.
  • At the end of 10 minutes, turn heat off, remove the pot lid, and let sit for 5 minutes.
  • Carefully remove jars with the jar lifter and place them on a rack where they can sit undisturbed for 24 hours.
  • Refrigerate any jars if their lids don’t pop down.


This recipe assumes some knowledge of proper and safe canning techniques. Please see  Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving or The All New Ball Book for Canning And Preserving for guidance or The All New Ball Book for Canning And Preserving for guidance.


Serving: 1ounceCalories: 477kcalCarbohydrates: 122gProtein: 3gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0.1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.2gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.5gSodium: 1mgPotassium: 581mgFiber: 5gSugar: 116gVitamin A: 1254IUVitamin C: 38mgCalcium: 24mgIron: 1mg
Keyword canning, jam, plums
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plum jam in bowl and on toast
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  1. Such a simple and easy recipe and I love the addition of the rosemary sprig, even I a non-canner can make this jam!! Bring on plum season!

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