Plum Jam….


I harvested our plum tree yesterday. I purchased the sad, little tree at our local home & garden store the year we moved into our house. I paid a whoppin’ $5 for it and it was labeled as a pear tree. You can imagine my surprise when it started producing plums! Not to worry……I’d rather have plums anyway. I have actually had fruit every year for the last 4 on the tree, but again, I’m ashamed to say that this is the first year we’ve harvested its bounty. For the last 5+ years we’ve been on vacation this time of year so the fruit has always gone to waste. Oh, I suppose it’s not a COMPLETE waste if you consider that the birds enjoyed some of it.
 After harvesting the tree, I brought the fruit in the house to sort and wash it. It was only then that I discovered that it wasn’t all ripe yet. Oddly enough, on the west facing side of the tree, the fruit was almost over-ripe. On the east facing side…..not quite ready yet. So, some of it will just have to finish up in the house. Looks like I’ll be dealing with plums again next weekend as well.
 So, I decided to make plum jam. 
What you will need:
 4 1/2 cups of plums per batch (about 3 lbs or 30).
7 1/2 cups of sugar (and a great dental insurance plan!)
1 packet of Ball RealFruit Liquid Pectin
Large saucepan
wooden spoon
7 sterilized half pint jars (run them through the dishwasher or wash them in hot, soapy water and rinse well)
7 lids & rings (heat the lids in a pan of water on the stove…you don’t have to boil them, just heat them well)
Canning funnel
Canner (pressure or water-bath) or a deep pot
Canning tongs (jar grabber thingies)

First, I selected fruit that was on the ripe side. I washed them and blanched them so that the skins would slip off easily. 30-60 seconds in boiling water and then about the same in ice water. The skins will slip right off. 
 Once the skins are off and the seeds are out, chop up your fruit a little bit. The recipe I used said to chop it into 1/4″ pieces but that seemed like a lot of unnecessary chopping to me. Just place the fruit in a large saucepan and add 1/2 cup of water and simmer for 5 minutes covered. 

 Once you’ve simmered the fruit covered for 5 minutes, remove the cover and bring it to a rolling boil that you can’t “stir down”.  Continue stirring…..

 Add the liquid pectin (make sure you squeeze it all out of the packet) and return the mixture to a hard boil for 1 minute. It will get foamy….just continue to stir. you can add 1/2 teaspoon of butter or margarine to prevent excessive foaming if desired. I didn’t, but you can. Remove it from the heat and skim the foam if necessary.

 Fill your jars to within 1/4″ of the top. With a clean, damp cloth wipe off any mixture that gets on the rim of the jar. Jam on the rim can prevent the jars from sealing.

 Bring your canner or large pot to a boil. You need to have enough water in there to completely submerge the jars. Process in boiling water for 10 minutes. The water needs to boil the ENTIRE time. Remove from water after 10 minutes. The jars should “pop” as each one seals. If you have any that don’t seal properly, just put them in the fridge for immediate enjoyment!

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