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 add a lovely, but subtle, piney flavor. Directions for canning the 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 adding 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.
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.
Jellies are typically a clear spread made from the juice of fruit. Typically the solids are removed by straining through a fine mesh colander or muslin
Jams are spreads that will contain 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.
The possibilities are endless as to 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:
In terms of ‘how much?’, my guidance would be to go sparingly. You don’t want to overpower the fruit, but rather 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 or 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:
Here some of my recipes that 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.
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While 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. If you are new to canning, it should be your very first purchase. 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.
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.
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