It has been an amazing summer for fruit in our neighbourhood. We have had a large crop of Meyer Lemons and are about to get a second flush before winter. Our passionfruit is fruiting also with a few blossoms still poking their gorgeous yellow and purple faces through the vine.
Our next door neighbour has a small fruit orchard along the back of her property. She has nectarines, peaches, plums and apples. This year her nectarines have been smaller than usual as her tree has gotten a little overgrown and the sun hasn’t been able to shine through the middle. On the other hand her peaches and plums have been magnificent.
My husband and I picked almost 7 kilograms of peaches in one night, 2 huge washing baskets full which we sent to local cafes and I blanched around 4 kilos and froze them for making wonderful waring things in Winter.
Her plum tree was just as generous this year, I picked last week early one morning almost 4 kilograms of beautiful ruby red fruit.
What to do with this much glorious fruit but make jam. I consulted with the oracle – my mum on what was the best way to make plum jam and she suggested adding raspberries to encourage more sweetness and she wasn’t wrong.
Here is my recipe for plum and raspberry jam. I macerated the fruit over night, covered in 500g of jam setting sugar, in a very large bowl in the fridge to release their juices and encourage the fruit to release its sweetness.
2 kg of plums
600g fresh raspberries
1.5kg of sugar, I used 1 kg of jam setting sugar as well as regular granular sugar.
1/2 cup of lemon juice
1 cinnamon stick
1 tablespoon of vanilla paste
2 star anise
9 Jam Jars – sterilised
START THIS RECIPE THE NIGHT BEFORE
Put two small plates into the freezer for testing purposes. Cut the plums in half and remove the stones. Keep the stones in a piece of muslin tied with some string for use later when making the jam.
Place all the cut plums into a large bowl with the raspberries, cinnamon, star anise and vanilla paste. Add in 500g of jam setting sugar and mix together really well. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate over night to encourage the juices to come out of the fruit.
The next morning make sure that all your jam jars have been washed and sterilised in a warm oven until dry.
Take the fruit out of the fridge and place a very large saucepan or dutch oven onto the stove. Place the fruit gently into the saucepan careful to not spill all the juice all over the oven, like I did. Place the muslin cloth bag into the pot along with 1 litre of water, bring to the boil slowly. Once boiling reduce the heat to a medium low and simmer for 50 minutes, or until the fruit has softened.
After the 50 minutes is up, add in the lemon juice and remaining sugar, and stir over a low heat without boiling for 5 minutes, stirring often so not to catch the sugar on the bottom. Remove any scum that rises to the surface of the jam with a slotted spoon. Bring back to the boil for a further 35 minutes, stirring often and removing any scum that rises to the surface. When the jam starts to fall from a tilted wooden spoon in thick sheets without sliding off the spoon like soup, start testing for the setting point of the jam.
Take one of the cold plates out of the freezer and place a teaspoon of jam onto the plate and place back in the freezer for 30 seconds. When the setting point has been reached you should be able to push the set fruit with your finger along the centre and it should wrinkle and not seep back together.
If it doesn’t wrinkle, continue to monitor, stir and test until it reaches this consistency.
Remove from the heat once set and spoon immediately into your clean and sterilised jars. Best way to do this is with a jam funnel, but if you don’t have one a large spoon will do perfectly. Just be careful not to pour any onto your hands as it will burn. Seal immediately. Turn the jars upside down for 2 minutes. Invert and leave to cool. Label and date. Store in a cool dark place like the back of the pantry or laundry cupboard for up to 12 months. Refrigerate after opening for up to 8 weeks.