This Easy Plum Jam is a great way to make the most of a quantity of plump, juicy, sweet plums. When you make this jam you will have your produce to enjoy all year long. That is if it lasts that long!
A good, home-made Plum Jam is a useful and tasty addition to your pantry.
It is a delicious condiment, bursting with flavour and extremely versatile. I most frequently enjoy it for breakfast on toast. However, you can serve it with pancakes, swirl through a plain cake batter, include a dollop in a muffin or enjoy with a scone and cream.
Over recent days I have been happily engaged making this Plum Jam for a dear friend. I am making the jam for her forthcoming wedding. She has chosen to give a jar to each of her guests.
This recipe for Easy Plum Jam is very simple; there are just 4 ingredients and one of them is water!
There are no unwelcome additives, artificial preservatives or thickeners that you may find in a commercially prepared jam. For me, one of the most important parts of home cooking is the knowledge that I control the quality of the ingredients.
If you haven’t had any experience with jam making, my Easy Plum Jam is a great place to start.
To begin, remove any blemishes from the fruit. Cut the fruit in half, remove the stone and cut the pieces in half again. Add the quartered plums, along with some water, to a large, wide saucepan.
Bring the fruit to a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally. Cook with the lid on until the fruit is soft. Then, add the sugar and lemon juice and stir until the sugar dissolves. Bring the fruit to a rolling boil, stirring frequently to ensure that it does not catch on the bottom of the pan and burn.
After about 5 minutes of rapid boiling, I check for setting point. Setting point is the stage at which the jam will firm up. It is the time to ladle it into jars.
There are several ways to check for setting point. Firstly, there is the temperature method. To use this method, you will need a sugar thermometer. Clip the thermometer to the side of your pan.
When the thermometer reads 104C/220F the jam is ready. Alternatively, there is the “wrinkle test” and this is the method that I use. Whilst the fruit is softening I place 2 saucers in the freezer. To test if the jam will set, I spoon a small amount onto the chilled saucer.
After a minute I push the jam with a fingertip. If the jam wrinkles, even slightly, it will set. However, if it is still liquid I return the jam to the heat and test again in a further 5 minutes. When it is ready I ladle it into hot, sterilised jars and seal with sterilised lids.
You will not have any difficulty getting this Plum Jam to set as plums are quite high in pectin.
Pectin is a naturally occurring starch which is found in varying degrees in fruits and vegetables. It is what makes jams and jellies firm when they are cool. When combined with acid and sugar, and cooked to a high temperature, it forms a gel.
In this recipe, I add a small amount of lemon juice. The acid component of the lemon juice aids with the setting.
If you are new to jam making and the resulting jam is too thick or too thin, please don’t be discouraged. If it is thick, serve it alongside a wedge of cheese – it is beautiful with full flavoured cheddar or fresh goat cheese. If it is quite thin, use it as an ice-cream topping or swirl it through plain yoghurt.
I have made a basic Plum Jam with the sweet-tart flavour of the fresh plums shining through.
It is delicious and the vibrant, ruby-red shade of the jam is beautiful. The colour, of course, will depend on the variety of plum that you use.
However, if you prefer, you could add some spices to the jam. Plums love spices, such as star anise and cinnamon. To include them, place them in a square of muslin, tie it securely with kitchen twine and boil them with the jam. You could include some orange rind in the muslin too if you wish.
Or, you could make Plum Jam with vanilla by including the pods and the scraped out seeds of 2 vanilla pods.
I do hope you will try this recipe for Easy Plum Jam.
Use this jam in my Easy Jam Bars.
Please let me know in the comments below if you make this recipe.
P.S. For more delicious jam and spread recipes, try:
Easy Plum Jam
- 11 x medium sized (200-250ml approx) jars (see notes)
- 2 kg (4 1/2 pounds) plums See Note 1
- 1/2 cup water
- 1.5 kg (3 1/3 pounds) granulated sugar See Note 2
- 1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice See Notes 3 and 4
To Sterilise the Jars:
- Choose glass jars with an airtight, metal lid. You can use recycled jars that are in good condition. Choose those with tight-fitting lids and ensure the lids do not have rubber inserts. Wash the jars and lids. If washing by hand use hot, soapy water and then rinse them well. Alternatively, wash them in the dishwasher.Preheat the oven to 130 Degrees C (270 F).Place jars and lids on a baking tray. Heat in the oven for at least 20 minutes, then remove and immediately fill with jam.
To Make the Jam:
- Place 2 small plates or saucers in the freezer to chill – see Note 5
- Wash the plums and remove any blemishes. Halve the plums and remove the stones.Cut the halves in half again. If you don’t want your jam to have chunks of fruit, cut the plums into eighths.
- Place the plums and water in a large, wide saucepan. See Note 6.
- Bring the plums to a simmer over low-medium heat. Stir occasionally using a long-handled wooden spoon. See Note 7.
- Cover the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until the plums are soft, 15-20 minutes. At this stage, if you prefer less chunky jam, you could blend it using a hand-held stick blender. Take off the heat to do this.
- Add the sugar and lemon juice. Stir frequently until the sugar dissolves.
- Increase the heat and bring to a rolling boil for 5-15 minutes. You need to be vigilant at this point. Stir frequently to avoid the jam catching and burning on the bottom of the pan.
- After about 5 minutes rapid boiling, turn the heat off under the jam. Spoon a small amount of jam onto a chilled plate or saucer to check if it is starting to set. – see Note 8I use the wrinkle test. When the jam has cooled, push it gently with your fingertip. If it wrinkles, even slightly, it is ready. If it remains liquid, put the jam back on the heat for a further 5 minutes and check again. See the Notes if you would prefer to use a thermometer. See Note 9
- When the jam reaches setting point, remove from the heat. If there is any scum on the jam, add a teaspoon of butter and stir well. It will dissolve the scum. Let the jam stand for about 10 minutes to allow the fruit to settle. This will ensure any pieces of fruit will be evenly distributed throughout the jam. Without standing, the pieces of fruit will rise to the top of the jar.
- Stir the jam and carefully ladle it into the heated, sterilised jars. You need to be very careful. A splash or spill from hot jam would result in a serious burn. I recommend that you wear clothing with long sleeves. Additionally, this is not the occasion to have children nearby.Seal the jars tightly with sterilised lids.The jam is still liquid when you bottle it; the pectin does not gel until the jam is cold.Remove any spills from the sides of the jars. Label and store the jam in a cool, dark place. – see Note 10
- When using the jam, always use a clean, dry spoon to avoid contamination. After opening a jar, as a further precaution, store it in the refrigerator.
- Ensure your fruit is freshly picked. The plums contain pectin which aids in the jam setting. If your fruit is older, it will contain less pectin. The colour of the jam will vary depending on the variety of fruit that you use.
- The plums I used for this jam were quite sweet so I used a fruit/jam ratio of 1 kilo of fruit to ¾ kilo sugar/1 pound fruit to ¾ pound of sugar. If the fruit you use is slightly unripe and quite tart you may need to use a ratio of equal weight fruit and sugar. Do not reduce the amount of sugar. Whilst the sugar sweetens the fruit it also acts as a preservative and helps the jam to set. If you reduce the sugar, your jam may not be shelf-stable and may go mouldy.
- The Australian tablespoon is 20ml or 4 teaspoons. In many other countries, the tablespoon is 15ml or 3 teaspoons. Please adjust the measurement if necessary.
- Fresh lemon juice not only balances the sweetness of the sugar, but it also contains pectin which helps to set the jam.
- The chilled plates are used to quickly cool the jam when testing setting point.
- Always choose your widest saucepan that has enough height to enable the jam to boil vigorously. More surface area means the liquid will evaporate faster; having sufficient height means you can boil the jam at a higher heat and maintain the fresh flavour of the plums.
- Do not use a metal spoon, it will become very hot. A long-handled wooden spoon is important to avoid being burnt by a splash from boiling jam.
- My jam reached setting point about 5 minutes after it began to boil rapidly. Boiling time will vary depending on the size of your saucepan and the heat that you apply.
- You can also check for setting point by using the temperature method. To use this method, you will need a sugar thermometer. Clip the thermometer to the side of your pan. When the thermometer reads 104C/220F the jam is ready.
- If your finished jam has not set as much as you would like, don’t worry, it will still be delicious stirred into some plain yoghurt or served over our no-churn vanilla ice cream. Or if it is slightly over-set and is very firm, it will be a lovely accompaniment on a cheese board.
- Please note, the nutrition information is based on one whole jar.