Beach Plum Jam II

October 19, 2004

My mom grows beach plums, a shrub native to the barrier islands of New Jersey. The plums are little things, about the size of a cherry, which turn dark purple when ripe. They are tart and sweet and strange and very tasty in an odd sort of a way. They also make superior jam.

The first time I tried them, I overcooked the jam and made two small jars of candy. This time I undercooked it a little and made very tasty spoon jam - serve with a spoon, spread with a knife.

We now have 7 jars of jam, 6 cups and a pint, plus the 12 oz jar of jam in the fridge. Both the toddler and I like it a lot.

Recipe below the fold

Ted's Beach Plum Jam

7 cups beach plums, about a quarter of them green.
7 cups sugar
1/2 lemon
1 tbsp light oil - I use olive or walnut

usual jam-making gear.
cheesecloth

Wash the plums.
Pit them, and put the fruit into one container, the pits into another. It is easy to pit them if you just push the pit out with your thumb. Hold the plum over the pit container as you squeeze, because you will also be dumping a lot of the very tasty juice when you express the pit.

Pitted beach plums can be frozen for later use. That is what we did with this batch.

Place the plums in your jamming pot.
Place the pits and juice into a piece of cheesecloth, and squeeze all possible juice, pulp, and yumminess out of the pit bag and into the jam pot.
Half a lemon.
Squeeze out some of the juice.
Using a spoon, remove the pith and pulp. Discard the seeds, mince thepith and pulp of 1/2 lemon. Add the minced stuff to the jam.
(This adds extra pectin and lets you get away with a shorter boil. I like the bright taste of short-boiled jam.)
Put a little dash of light oil into the pot - this helps prevent boil-over.

Over a moderate-high flame, heat the plums and lemon to a rolling boil - it continues to boil while being stirred. Stir the fruit regularly as it heats. Don't worry about the skins - they add flavor and texture. (Some folks chop them, but I don't.)

Once the fruit comes to a rolling boil, boil for one minute.
Add the sugar all at once
Stir in.
Cook the jam, stirring constantly, until it comes to a full boil.
Reduce heat to maintain that boil, and stir for 60 to 180 seconds or until the jam just begins to sheet or clump off your spoon. If you stop too soon you get runny jam, which you can eat. If too late, you get candy.

Pour into sterilized glass canning jars, cover, boil for 10 minutes in a boiling water canner.

Yield - a bit over 7 cups - exact quantities will vary depending on how long you boil. We got 9 1/2 cups last time, but it was runny and could have boiled for more than the 90 seconds I gave it.

Enjoy - it makes a nice bright, slightly tart jam.

Posted by Red Ted at October 19, 2004 07:29 AM | TrackBack