Plummy Plum Jam

I love home made jams and jellies. They are wonderful tasting, lovely textured and evocative of another time that I did not live in but I like to idealize sometimes. Naturally this requires a little selective imagination such as conveniently forgetting that I don't have to chop a neverending supply of wood or smack my clothes against a washboard with a lye and ash concoction to clean my clothes or do any other myriad labour intensive chores.) Nonetheless ... the idea of a simpler way of life (translation - less choices) appeals to me for a short period of time. One of the reasons I prefer to make my own jams and jellies is because I can control the amount of sugar and the texture and softness of the final product. To me the best jam and jelly is soft, not hard, contains lots of fruit or fruit flavour and is not too sweet. Always they need a bit of sour to make the most of their tangy and fruity natural flavours. My grandmother always made her own preserves and jams and jellies and did a lovely job of it to. She always made black currant jam and that is the jam that I always associate with her. Jam and jelly making is a far faster process today and can pretty much involve as much or as little work as you are willing to go to.
Freezer jams are so fast, no sterilizing of jars, no processing (boiling) of the jam. But still, I love the old fashioned kind of jam as well and it is a pleasurable endeavor. So, here is my plum jam. It has far less sugar than most so be warned if you like a very sweet jam, this is not the one for you. If you like lots of lovely fruit flavor you will find it in this recipe. 
 Plummy Plum Jam

 3 lbs. plums, red or black, half of them ripe, the rest underipe
3 cups sugar
2 - 1/2 envelopes Knox powdered pectin (2 envelopes + 1 tsp)
  • Wash and chop plums coarsely. Put in 6 quart pot with 1 1/2 cup water. Cook over medium heat about 15 minutes until plums fall apart and are lumpy. Cool then fish out pits.
  • Add sugar, stir and taste. (Add up to 1 cup more sugar if you wish.) Remove 3/4 cup of jam to a measuring cup. Add pectin and stir. Add 3/4 cup boiling water. Stir then add to jam.
  • Bring to a boil while stirring constantly. After 1 minute remove the pot from the heat and do a spoon test and cold saucer test as described below. If too soft - put pot back on heat and repeat tests every 1 minute until ready. (I add the pectin, bring the jam to a boil and boil 4 minutes. I like a soft but not runny jam.)
  • Remove pot from heat and skim off foam. Place jars on tray. Ladle jam into jars. Place lids on and screw rings over. Place jars in canner and boil for 7 mins plus 1 min more for each 1,000 feet above sea level that you are at. (In Calgary, Alberta you need to boil for 11 mins). Start timing once water reaches a boil.
  • Remove jars to dishtowel covered tray and let sit 12-24 hours. After 12 hours check lids. If any lids are not sunken in then the jar is not sealed. Unsealed jars must be placed in the refrigerator and used first. Put other jars away in dark place until you want them.
  • Makes 9 - 125 ml jars or 4 - 250 ml jars
To prepare jars:
To prepare jars you can boil the jars, lids and rings and ladle in boiling water and keep them in the water until you use them. Place on a towel lined tray just before filling them. Or you can wash them in the dishwasher and remove the warm jars from the dishwasher just before filling them. I've done both... so handy...

Spoon test:
Dip the spoon into the jam and lift out. Tilt spoon to side and watch how the jam drips off. If it forms two drops that come together to form a sheet that falls from the spoon it is ready.

Cold saucer test:
Drizzle a bit (1/2 tsp) onto a saucer that has been chilling in freezer. Swirl plate a bit to spread it out then run your finger through it. This is the thickness the prepared jam will be, if processed for a while the jam will be a bit thicker than this. If it is to soft for your taste then boil jam again for 1 more minute, remove the pot from the heat, and perform saucer test.

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