I grew up living outside of a small town “in the country” as we say…meaning way outside of the town on dirt roads. A grove of wild plum trees grew near the farm where I lived. For many years I made plum jelly from those wild plums and developed my own recipe (albeit a very simple recipe). When I moved into my current home, I was pleased to learn we owned a plum tree. Here is my recipe for wild plum (or domesticated plum) jam.
If you have never made jams or jellies before, I would suggest researching the topic a bit before trying it for the first time. It’s not hard, but it’s best to be well educated on the topic as as to avoid any oops moments resulting in someone getting ill.
The easiest way to prepare the plums for processing is to “blanch” them. Prepare a pot of boiling water and two bowls. Fill one bowl with ice water.
Place several plums in the boiling water until the skin around them slits open. Then scoop them out and place them into the ice bath to cool. Then peal off the skins and slice the fruit away from the pit and leave your discards (skins and pits) in the second bowl. I place the pulp of the fruit directly into a measuring cup until I have gathered enough. It requires 8 cups for this jam recipe.
After you have acquired all the pulp you need, use two large pots to start the canning process. Put the pulp into one pot to cook and follow the recipe below. In the other pot, fill it 1/2 full with water and start it to boil.
Place your new jars and lids into the boiling water for a minute or two to sterilize them. Remove them using tongs and set aside. Do this right before you are ready to fill them with your fruit mixture so the jars are still hot. It is best to have the jars hot when you fill them just in case the glass might break from a big temperature difference between cold jars and hot jam.
Fill the jars up to 1/8 inch below the rim. I use a measuring cup to dip out the jam and pour it into the jars. No matter what method you use, it’s messy. Put on the bottom of the lid and then screw on the top of the lid using hot pads so you don’t burn yourself.
Place the filled and sealed jars into the boiling water. Wait for the water to return to a boil and then let them process for 2 minutes. Using canning tongs, remove the hot jars from the water and set aside to cool. If they have been processed correctly, within a minute or two you will hear popping sounds as the lids seal air-tight. Wait 5 minutes and then check the tops of each can by pressing your finger down on them. If the lid has movement, return the can to the boiling water for 2 more minutes. Let the errant jar cool again, this time 10 minutes and check again. I generally have 1 or 2 jars acting bullheaded about sealing but every time it has either been my impatience and tested them too early before they cooled enough to seal, or it sealed after the second water-bath.
Make sure your boiling water covers the tops of the jars.
And there you are, a very simple canning recipe for wonderful sweet but tart jam.
Wild Plum Jam
8 Cups Wild Plum Pulp
7 Cups Sugar
1 Package Fruit Pectin
1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
12 8oz Canning Jars and Lids
Blanch the plums by placing them in boiling water until the skins split. Move them to cold water bath to cool. Remove the skins and pits and measure the fruit to 8 cups. Put the fruit into a large pot and cook for 10 minutes at a low boil. Add the sugar, pectin and lemon juice and return to a boil for 1 minute. While the plums are cooking, boil to sterilize the jars and lids and set them aside. Fill the jars up to 1/8 inch from the rims and then seal. Put the sealed jars into the boiling water bath and process for 2 minutes. Using canning tongs, remove the jars and set aside to cool. After 5 minutes check the seal by pushing down on the top of the jar with a finger. If the lid moves, reprocess the jar for 2 more minutes in the boiling water.