For keen preservers, the produce section at the supermarket or the local fruit shop is a veritable candy store over the summer months. After the monotonous display of apples, pears and bananas over the chilly months, it is easy to be dazzled by the array of mangoes, peaches, nectarines and apricots on offer. Plums arrive a little later and often so briefly, that if excess time is spent admiring and pondering, the window of preserving opportunity slams shut, and another year must pass before these beauties arrive again.
So my friends, do not be caught out. Gather your old jars, select a choice kilogram of nicely ripened plums (any variety) and after an hour or so pottering in the kitchen you will have about five lovely jars of plum jam.
1 kg plums
1 kg jam setting sugar
Remove stones from plums and chop finely or process in the food processor. In a large pan add chopped plums and sugar, and cook over a low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Increase heat and boil rapidly for 4 minutes. Remove from heat and test a small amount of jam on a saucer that has been chilled in the freezer. The surface should wrinkle when pushed. Pour hot jam into hot sterilised jars and seal immediately. Leave to cool and then wipe away any stickiness on jars with a damp cloth. Add your labels.
Postscript: Purchasing a kilogram of fresh plums is a win – win situation. You are either going to end up with a well stocked pantry shelf, or if time gets away and good intentions are lost, a lovely fresh feast.