Plum Jam is an easy recipe that is elevated in a wonderful way by roasting the plums. Beginners can easily succeed with this canning recipe and the roasting plums make your home smell heavenly.
The last time I saw my dear Grandpa Carlos we visited him in his shady lawn in Willows, CA. His plum trees were loaded with pretty, golden fruit and my mom and I kicked ourselves for not arriving with proper buckets for fruit collection. Grandpa watched us pick his plums, filling grocery sacks full, and talking about canning jam. I normally blog about projects that are happening now but I wasn’t blogging when I made this particular recipe, with these delicious and now penultimately special plums. Fall is in the air now, plums are ripening, and hunting season always makes me think of Grandpa too. I came home from Willows that fall, pregnant with my son, and roasted his plums with my little girl on a chair beside me into the best preserve I may ever make and now I’m too sentimental to open the remaining jars and eat it up.
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I can’t find the recipe or pin I referred to that suggested I roast the plums so I can’t give proper credit. I know my instructions that will follow are based very closely on the recipe for Plum Jam in my favorite canning book, Canning for a New Generation. Buy it if you want a wonderfully diverse and entirely inspiring text. You won’t be sorry.
Recipe for Roasted Plum Jam
4 pounds plums, pitted and diced
2 cups sugar
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon spice- Canning for a New Generation suggests cardamom but I used cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg and it was divine.
Place the diced plums in a wide, oven-safe pan and fill with just enough water to almost cover. Roast at 400 degrees, stirring often until the fruit is very fragrant, the water is mostly cooked away, and the fruit is broken down. This is the part that makes your house smell heavenly. I can’t say I have had another cooking experience like this one and I hope you find it as wonderful as I did.
When the fruit is cooled a bit, ladle into a food mill and process to remove skins. Alternatively, press through a sieve. I have read that you could process in a blender but I have never done it that way though I bet it would work. Here’s the food mill I recommend.
Add the lemon juice, sugar, and spice to the plums in a wide preserving pan. Simmer, stirring often, for about 20 minutes or until it is thickened significantly. Ladle the hot jam into hot, sterilized jars following safe canning practice outlined in the USDA site here or in the introduction of any good canning book. Leave ¼ inch headspace, add lids and rings, and process in a water bath for 5 minutes to process. Remove to a towel on a countertop and leave undisturbed for 12 hours. Label and store.
My Grandpa Carlos was the kind of guy who encouraged those around him to live it up, which is something I’ve always wrestled with. He’d say, yeah, drink another beer, play another game, stay another hour! I may have to cowgirl up and open one of the jars of jam just for him. He’d never want something good to go to waste.
Share your thoughts in the comment section below, Wildflowers! Have you ever roasted fruit to a similar end? I’m eager to try another recipe so please share if you have!