A bucket of prized red plums from Pablo meant one thing: plum jam. We have been spoiled for red plum jam ever since the gift of a single jar from a friend, Ginny. Hers was simply the best-ever plum jam we have tasted and, since then, we have always longed to make our own. So this was our chance. This is a Marguerite Patten recipe and makes 1⅔lb/750g jam. As always when making jam or chutney, pre-prepare your sterilised jar.
450g plums [weight when stoned]
Up to 4 tbsp water
Juice of one lemon [to aid setting, this is our amendment to the recipe]
Halve the fruit and carefully remove the stones. These can be cracked and the kernels added to the jam just before setting point is reach [we didn’t do this]. If the fruit is too firm to halve before cooking, allow 1¼lb/550g fruit and remove the stones once softened. If you do this, you can still use the kernels.
The final stage, recommended by our friend Ginny, is to sieve the jam to remove skin. Finally, spoon into hot sterilised jars, seal and label. About setting point: some jams reach setting point in three to five minutes, especially if you are making a small amount. Always remove the pan from the heat while testing for setting. Spoon a little boiling jam onto a cold plate. Allow the preserve to become cool, then push it with your finger. If the top has set, and the preserve wrinkles when you touch it, it is set. If it wrinkles only slightly, return the pan to the heat and boil it for another one or two minutes before re-testing. 5 to remember
un cubo – a bucket
valorado/a – prized
solo/a – single
un tarro – a jar
mermelada de ciruela – plum jam
‘The Basic Basics Jams, Preserves and Chutneys Handbook’ by Marguerite Patten [pub. Grub Street]