Sunday, October 4, 2009


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!


Debra said...

I love homemade jam!


The problem with damson plums is that there is a small window of opportunity to get them here (southern Ontario). If I don't get them within a one week period during the year, I'm out of luck. I was told once by a damson farmer that damsons are often picked while green and sold to canning factories to be processed and sold as jumbo olives. I don't know how they do that, but sounds interesting.

Marcie said...

This is my first time visiting your blog. I just have to say that this jam is a gorgeous color! If it tastes as good as it looks, it must be wonderful!

Amy said...

Mmm jam is my favourite food group ;) I LOVE the colour of the plum jam! Gorgeous!

Anonymous said...

Yum. Homemade jam is the best.

aTxVegn said...

My grandmother made the best plum jams and jellies. It's always been my favorite. And it's so pretty!