03 December 2010

Plum & Apple Jam

I recently found some plums in the reduced section at the grocery store.  Now, I know it's December, and I know I was at a grocery store in Scotland -- so I did have plenty of fair warning that the fruit might not be at its best.  But I simply couldn't help myself.  Plums have a special place in my heart.  And hey, they were dirt cheap.

These plums were, so sadly (but unsurprisingly) nothing like the plums I had over the summer.  At my friend's country home in Portugal, we took a post-lunch stroll through a little grove of plum trees, and the red globes were so ripe they practically jumped off the tree and into my basket.  We ate as many as we humanly could, then I took a nap in a hammock.  This was my favourite day of the whole summer.

So, maybe you understand how I couldn't sit idly back and allow these plums to be terrible - it would be an affront to my memory and a mar on my idea of plum-ness.  I told my Portuguese friend about my plan to rescue my plums by making a jam.  He has a way of pointing out the oddities of the English language to me, and commented amusedly on the concept of rescuing a plum.  Well, consider me the patron saint of plums, because my plan worked out marvellously.

Apple & Plum Jam
This is a take on my Chilli Jam recipe I blogged about not too long ago.

3 apples
3 plums
150g sugar (3/4 cup)
dash cinnamon
1/2 tea lemon zest

Roughly chop apples (no need to peel or core) and place in a saucepan with some water.  Bring to a boil and allow to simmer about 1 hour, until apples are cooked through.  Strain solids out using a fine-meshed seive, pressing down with the back of a spoon to extract as much liquid as possible.  Allow mixture to cool completely (I leave this overnight in the fridge).

Pit and roughly chop plums, and add to saucepan with apple juice.  Bring to a boil, allowing plums to fully cook in apple juice.  When they are transparent, gently smash the plum pieces using a potato masher.  Add sugar, cinnamon and lemon zest.  Simmer, uncovered, until mixture begins to gel.  Turn the heat up and watch the magic happen.  (I had a bit of trouble getting this to gel - make sure the heat is high enough.  It will gel when two things have happened: the water/sugar/pectin ratio is just right - this happens automatically as your mixture loses steam while boiling - and when it reaches the right temperature.)

Pour hot jam into a glass jar and store in the fridge up to one month.

Makes one large-ish jar of jam.

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