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Plum Mania Part 1: Plum Jam 09.29.2009

Posted by Dan Sheehan in Recipes.
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We're going to destroy these little guys

Nothing signifies the start of Fall in Seattle like ripe plums…or rather, friends trying to dump their ripe plums in your lap.  For us, picking plums from a coworker’s tree in Sunset Hill was a welcome act of charity.  A half hour of picking and gathering of treefall yielded enough plums to poke around with a few different recipes.  First off, Plum Jam.

Always use butter on your toast.  Always.Jam comes in all different forms.  Thick, thin, smooth, chunky.  It’s perfection depends less on ingredients and more on preference.  What follows is an easy spreading jam, with no added pectin.  It depends more on the fruit solids and natural pectin for consistency.  Jam is also a great example of a recipe that depends on personal taste rather than proportion.  Let your tongue be your measuring cup.

You will need:

  • Plums (Italian pictured here.  maybe 10lbs)
  • Sugar (maybe 4 cups)
  • Lemon Juice (from real lemons only.  maybe 1 cup)
  • Big Pot
  • Drill with paint mixer attachment

Jam is a great oportunity to use treefall, or plums that have fallen to the ground.  Gather only those that have been unpuntured.  Usually that means a bird or a slug has gotten to them first.  If they’ve fallen, chances are they are super ripe.  Rinse the plums.  Pit them by shoving your thumb in and tearing them open.  Scoop out the pit with a finger and through the roughly halved plum into a deep pot.  Add the sugar.  Juice lemons, making sure to pick out or strain all the seeds before adding the juice to the pot.

What the...metal?  It's ginger.  Keep flavoring separate to maintain a consistent end product.Place it on high heat.  Stir occassionally to prevent the bottom from carmelizing.  When it comes to a boil, reduce to a simmer.  We probably let this batch go for about an hour plus.  Note that we also added a bunch of chopped ginger in a tea ball for flavor.  This made a subtle but nice complement to the plum.  though it is not necessary because the jam is going to be friggin’ amazing without it.  Just saying.

The consistency desired here is easy spreading but not watery.  Because we’re going to be blending the plums we looked for the syrupy part of the mixture to barely coat a spoon while hot.

Enter the power tools.  Grab your drill and your (brand new from your local hardware store, and washed) paint mixing blade.  Still that sucker in and pull the trigger.  Be amazed as your plum goop turns into a beautiful crimson jam.

Just like in the Odyssey!

Here’s where taste comes in.  Once blended give it a try.  Try it again.  Ask a friend to try it too.  Does it need to be sweeter?  Add sugar.  Does the sugar overpower the plum?  Add lemon juice.  Those are your two options.  Once you’re got the taste right.  Bring it back to a boil to safely integrate the added ingredients.  Aaaaand…done!

We canned it by boiling and it looks great.  Tastes even better.  Stay tuned for part 2 when we brandy plums!

You won't eat it all.  Give it away you packrat.

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