Damson plums aren't much to eat straight up, but they are perfect for jam making. Tart with a bit of sweetness, their flavor is intense and only intensifies when simmered slowly with sugar.
On Friday I was the lucky recipient of some less-than-perfect quality plums. There were plenty of wrinkled (near-prunes!) in the case to sort through, but I was able to make PLENTY of jam.
The color of these plums is outstanding- Dark blue on the outside and yellow on the inside. Your color wheel would tell you that the jam would end up green, but it turns a gorgeous shade of purple.
One of the best things about plum jam is that you don't have to peel any fruit! You can leave the fruit chunky for a hearty preserve or do like I do and puree the fruit for a smoother jam.
I used a ratio of 5 cups chopped plums to 3 cups sugar. I simmered until the sugar was liquefied and the plums were starting to break down, then pureed the mixture and returned to a boil. I boiled the mixture until the jam started to set when placed on a frozen saucer. It's not a hard-set type jam...more of a soft jam.
For those vegans out there who make jams and jellies: You might have wondered like I have about the tradition of adding a bit of butter to jellies to prevent foam from forming. Being vegan, I've always just ignored this instruction and skimmed the foam off my jams and jellies or just had a layer of foam on top of my final product. The foam doesn't hurt anything, but it could ruin your chances of winning at the State Fair!
So this time I tried using Earth Balance margarine.
The Before Picture
The After Picture
It worked! It didn't totally eliminate the foam, but it did dramatically reduce it. I didn't end up with any visible foam in the jars- and I didn't skim at all!
The downside to this? I didn't have any skimmed foam to sop up with baguette and that's darn near my favorite thing about making jam!
PS- I have about 1/4 case of leftover plums, even after doing 2 batches of plum jam and one of plum sauce! Anyone living near St. Paul should email me if they want the rest. It's definitely enough for 8 halfpints of jam, but they need to be used within a day or two.
***Update*** The plums found a home with lucky reader Dana!