Well what a year its been for me in the plums department if you pardon the expression. My father-in-laws trees have been simply laden with fruit. I say trees somewhat ironically though. Those of you who have watched my youtube videos on plum chutney and plum dipping sauce will know that one of his plum trees was actually purchased as a flowering cherry would you believe! Hey-ho, all’s well that ends well, it still produces an amazing display of blossom in the spring, but instead of tiny bitter cherries we get a great harvest of the most magnificent plums, as the piccy opposite shows. By the way I’d love to here from anyone who can identify the tree from the picture – just curious!
Still, I diagress, it is not his so called flowering cherry we are concerned with here but his fabulous Victoria plum tree. There is no other plum that comes close to a Victoria for making the perfect plum jam recipe and fortunately my father-in-law’s tree is mighty prolific. Strangely enough though, as those of you who have seen the plum jam recipe video will know, the fruit was very small this year. I think it must have had something to do with the lack of water in late spring. Anyway not to worry, because although small, there were plenty of them and their flavour was as spectacular as ever.
Now I have a pact with my wife concerning my plum jam recipe and it’s this. As she is so fond of it, and the primary consumer, she agrees to stone all the fruit in return for my making more than sufficient to sate her desires for the entire year – for plum jam that is! Well I can tell you she definitely got the rhum end of the deal this year as we picked a good 20lb and none of them were much bigger than a good damsom. Still 3 hours and a few episodes of QI later and they were all done – bless her.
And so to the plum jam recipe…..
As I have said before there is no plum like a Victoria for making any plum jam recipe and this comes down to sweetness and flavour. After all Victorias are dessert plums and as such you would expect these two qualities to be at the fore. However, for the jam maker this does present a problem; that of pectin and acid. Sweet fruit and plums in particular contain very little pectin and fruit acid and so to get a good set we often have to cheat. Well some would say cheat, but I’m not so sure. I’d rather add a little extra pectin to my plum jam recipe in the way of Certo and some citric acid rather than lemon juice, than have my plum jam all boiled to death with no flavour left in it and still not properly set.
Ingredients for the Plum Jam Recipe
- 1.5kg Plums
- 1 level tsp Citric acid
- 275ml of Water
- 1.75kg Sugar
- 75g Certo
To Prepare the Plum Jam Recipe
- Stone the plums; add them, the water and the citric acid to a large saucepan and simmer gently with the lid on until the fruit is soft and mushy. Try to simmer for as little time as possible to retain all the flavour, but it must be for at least 10 minutes to release any pectin that is present.
- Pour the boiled fruit mush into a jam kettle that is at least twice its volume. Add the sugar and bring to a rolling boil. If all is okay at this stage you will get a foaming boil, with plenty of scum being forming, hence the need for the large kettle. Boil for 10 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and add the Certo. Stir vigorously to redissolve all the scum. Bottle into sterilised jars, tighten lids and leave to cool.
Hey presto, you have the perfect Victoria plum jam recipe, which will taste absolutely divine. This particular plum jam recipe will of course work for all types of plums and greengages. Depending on the type of plums you use you may not need the Certo. To find out if your plums have sufficient pectin in them just follow my simple pectin test. Chances are they will always need a bit of acid though so make sure you add the citric acid to all types of plum. You can use lemon juice but I find it can leave a taste if the jam you’re making has a delicate flavour in the first place.
While on the subject of delicate flavours this plum jam recipe will also work for apricots and peaches, but for these two I have another secret up my sleeve to enhance there yumminess, which you can learn if you read my apricot jam recipe.