Friday, October 03, 2014

Jammin'....

Fall is that special time of year when you start getting baseball bat sized zucchinis stuffed in your mailbox or trash bags full of very ripe fruit delivered to your door.  My dad, bless his heart, called me first, at least, and asked me if I could possibly use a trash bag full of ripe plums.  Ummmmm.  Well.  Sure!  Yes, I could use an entire trash bag of plums for something, I guess.  I thought to myself, if nothing else, I could feed them to the chickens.

The day arrived when OnlyDaughter delivered them as she picked up her children from a two day stay.  Now it was time to figure out what I'd do.  The first thing I thought of was jam.  I had never made plum jam, but I figured I had the ingredients for at least one batch so I'd give it a try, not knowing whether or not Hubs or I would actually eat the stuff, or if we'd just leave it to age on the shelves of the canning cupboard for years and years and then let our children throw it away once we passed on.  I'll write the year on the top of the jar just for conversation.  I could hear them saying, "Geez!  Mom made this stuff in 2014 and here it is 2044 and the seal is still good!"

First, there was the washing and then the sorting and pitting of hundreds of little cherry-sized plums.  This was the time consuming-est part of the process, but I pressed on, hoping for the best.  I always make jam to taste, not following a recipe exactly when it comes to measuring out the sugar.  You never know if the fruit is going to be very sweet or very tart so I add the sugar a bit at a time and taste.  One lick of the spoon and I knew this jam was going to be the bomb diggity.  And it was!  I had a glob on some fresh-baked bread and it was to die for!  Then I had JJo try it that evening.  She was floored by the flavor and took a pint home for herself.  I took a jar to JLo's too figuring they might like to try it.  Since the experiment turned out so well, I bought another case of jelly jars and a little more sugar and pectin and made another big batch of jam, and froze the rest of the pitted plums in the freezer for more jam later.  Or perhaps Dad might want some plums for wine making.

The dreaded trash bag of plums turned out to be nectar of the fruit gods.  So far we've had that plum jam on toast and on ice cream, and next I plan to use it as a layer in coffee cake.  Can't you just taste that tangy sweetness and see that beautiful red swirl in the middle layer of morning coffee cake?  Oh yesssssss!

13 comments:

  1. That canning experience was so worth it! You need to tell us how many pints or jars you ended up with. Yum!

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    1. Nancy,
      I had about 20 half pints of jam.

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  2. Oh yum- when is breakfast? Angela

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  3. Plums are so fickle. It is a treasure to get a batch of plums. I can remember celebrating when mom would make plum jelly, as it was a nice respite from chokecherry jelly which we had every year. I'm glad yours turned out good. I would love to know about your dad's wine making.

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    1. Dad is a novice wine maker. He just basically makes wine when he has some fruit. He's made apple wine in the past but nobody really liked it. My favorite wine was a grape & plum mix. He called it Plum Medley. He made another wine from some purple plums my Aunt Betty gave him and he called that wine Plum Betty. It was really good too and was another favorite of mine. So I'm guessing plums are a very good wine fruit. Have you made plum wine yet, Bonnie?

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  4. How wonderful it turned out to be so yummy. I do love those kind of plums though, my Grandpa called them sand plums. He always said they had the best flavor.
    I guess he called them that because they grew along the creek bottom when he was a kid. :)

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  5. I have to redo my plum jam (Nana Go Go told me that you can recook it if it doesn't set up the way you like it). I do love plums! Your jam sounds yum, yum, yummy, Jody! I wish there was something besides bread to put jam on. Well, ice cream!

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  6. Plum jam just might be my favorite!

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  7. Actually, my mouth is starting to water, because we have a cherry plum tree in the back yard and in the rare year that rain doesn't come at just the wrong time and knock off all the blossoms, we get enough plums to "do something with" and I have made the most delicious syrup that we put on pancakes. I think I cooked the fruit down with the pits and then put it through a Foley mill, so it wasn't tedious. There is something about those skins with the fruit that makes a really rich flavor! (But it's been years...)

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  8. Sounds really good. One question - I've heard to follow the recipe for sugar amounts when making jams and that the jam could end up not gelling if the correct amount isn't used. I'd rather make jam like you do (to taste), but I'm afraid the results wouldn't be good. Could you clarify? Thanks.

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  9. Good question and one that I only just found out the answer to recently!
    When you make jam to taste, regulating the sugar, use the pectin that states plainly on the box: no sugar needed. Usually these pectins allow for using sugar substitutes or low sugar. I hope this helps.

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  10. Yum!!! You're making me so hungry! This is not a post to read before breakfast is ready :) Sounds lovely, and I like your idea of taste-testing the batch as you go.

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  11. Good for you doing the work. Plum jam is my fav!! Clarice

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