- A large, high-sided, heavy-bottomed saucepan
- Wooden spoon – long-handled, if possible – I have my Mother-in-Law’s..
- Jam jars and lids (sterilised)
- Jam funnel (optional, but really useful – you’ll only need one of these in your lifetime!)
- small plates or saucers
- If you have a splatter-guard, it’s very useful for jam making.
- Oven gloves
- Plums, any variety. Washed, cut in half, and stone removed, then weighed.
- Sugar – you’ll need half as much sugar as fruit. I use Whitworth’s Preserving Sugar. The only difference between it and regular granulated sugar seems to be that the grains are larger. There is another kind of jam-making jam, which has Pectin in it – you don’t need this, as plums have plenty of natural Pectin.
- juice of half a lemon
- a knob or two of butter
- 100mls water
- Put the saucers into the fridge.
- Make sure that the jam jars, lids and funnel are sterilised. Keep them warm in an oven heated to 100 degrees (see NOTES)
- Wash, de-stone, then weigh your plums.(remember the weight) Mine weighed 1.2 kg today
- Put them into the saucepan, add the water and lemon juice and bring to the boil
- Reduce the heat to a simmer, stirring regularly, until the plums are tender (this took me about 10 minutes today)
- Add the sugar (I used 600g, so half the amount of sugar to fruit – keep that as a general rule) and stir constantly at a medium temperature with the wooden spoon until the sugar has dissolved.
- You’ll know that the sugar has dissolved if you check the back of the spoon – there will be no sugar granules left.
- Bring the heat up full, and boil for about 10 minutes (use the splatter-guard if you have one) until the jam mixture starts to reduce down. Keep stirring regularly. *PUT ON AN OVEN GLOVE AT THIS STAGE AS THE MIXTURE IS SERIOUSLY HOT*
- Drop the butter in to reduce frothing.
- Keep stirring until the jam starts to ‘jam’ – this can take quite a time – with this plum jam, I’d say it took about 20 minutes. I don’t have a sugar thermometer, so I had to rely on the ‘wrinkle test’ –
Here’s the WRINKLE TEST:
- Remove the jam from the heat.
- Drop a little jam onto the cold saucer, and wait for it to cool.
- If it forms a skin, and wrinkles slightly when you push it with the tip of your finger, then it’s done.
- If it doesn’t return it to the heat and test every 5-10 minutes until you’re satisfied.
- Remove the jam from the heat and let it sit for 5-10 minutes to cool a little.
- Arrange your jars on a tray (they’ll be hot from the oven)
- Using a large serving spoon or a ladle, spoon the jam into the jars until they are filled about 1cm from the top. (This is where the jam funnel comes in very handy, especially if you’re messy, like me)
- Wipe with a damp cloth if there are any spills, then cover immediately.
- Label, with the name of the jam, and today’s date.
- Cool and store in a dark cupboard until you want to use them.
- Preparing your jars – I tend to put mine through the dish-washer, then keep them warm in the oven at 100 degrees, until minutes before I’m ready to use them. Of course, you can always boil them too – just submerge them in cold water, bring to the boil and boil gently for about 5 minutes. The either keep them covered in the water, or move them to the oven.
- You need to be so careful when making jam – the boiling sugar would give you an awful burn. That’s why the high-sided pot and oven gloves are so useful. I’d also recommend that you have a child-free kitchen when making jam. It actually takes more than a little concentration to make jam, and distractions are a menace!
- In recent years I’ve started adding a little Cinnamon (about a teaspoonful) and a couple of Star Anise to this jam while it’s cooking. I think it improves it..