Here in Victoria Australia we are desperately holding on to the last few weeks of our beautiful summer (yes I know it is autumn). It’s been forecast for this balmy weather to last until mid March so we are embracing it with open arms! On the flip-side, we need some bloody rain its been so dry. Our lawn, who am I kidding what lawn? Our desert is suffering with cracks big enough to swallow up one of my children. Not a bad thing some days….kidding!
I made this jam with the left over plums from the over excited farmers market shop I did. The kids had their share of juicy ripe plums, Lal Lal Dad ate his at the peak of unripeness. Yes, my husband likes his fruit on the unripe side causing me to have some novel ways of hiding fruit around the house so it has a chance to ripen and actually for that matter saving some for me to eat! Cheeky boy.
As soon as the summer glut/autumn fruit and vege appear I slip into crazy preserver lady. I have this internal switch which activates and sends me into prepping for hibernation, I am not a bear lets clear that up now. I have no idea why it’s such a strong instinct but I go with it knowing for most of the colder months and less productive garden months we will survive on my hibernation staples. Ok it’s not that dramatic we have fully stocked shops and farmers markets in this day-in-age but it’s comforting having a cupboard stocked with some homemade goodies.
So back to the plums. I managed to squirrel away enough to make a batch of plum Jam. I’ve experimented with a few add Ins and its passed the child and daddy test, my harshest critics.
Jam is a pretty simple equation.
So heres the Ingredients give it a go
1Kg Plums, any type that take your fancy just make sure they are not squishy or hard as rock!
900g Raw Sugar
2 Whole Star Anise
1 Vanilla Pod, insides scraped out
2-3 Jam Jars that hold around 250ml-300ml
First, first, first Pop a little saucer into the freezer for testing your jam. I regularly forget this step.
The next step is always the most tedious. Take the stone out of each plum. Half the plum around the long side and scoop out the stone. 1/4 the plums and throw these in to a heavy based saucepan. Add the whole star anise and the seeds of the vanilla bean and the pod.
Pop the pan on a medium heat and let this come to a simmer allowing the fruit to start to soften and break down. At this point add your sugar and keep stirring until dissolved. Once you can’t see any evidence of sugar crank the heat up and let it come to steady boil.
Skim any frothy bits off the surface keeping any eye on the jam as this has a tendency to stick to the bottom and burn.
To get the jam to setting point will take around 30 minutes-ish give or take but this can differ to each pot of jam you make. So watch and wait.
Take 3 Jars and their lids and give them a warm soapy wash, pop them into a 50 degree oven on an oven tray to warm through and sterilise. Leave them in the oven until you are ready to use them.
To test your jam is at optimum point of yumminess grab your ice cold saucer out of the freezer and spoon a teaspoonful of jam on to the centre. Leave it undisturbed for a minute and then take your clean finger tip and run it through the centre of the jam. If you get a nice clean line through the centre BINGO its ready. Lick your finger for quality control purposes and move on to jarring up!
Grab your warm jars and fill these with the jam removing the whole star anise and vanilla pod as you see them. Filling the jars to around 5 mm of the top will allow your jam to keep longer as there is less airspace in the jar for it to go off quicker.
I use a jug to pour the jam making the filling of the jars much easier and less messy and sticky. Get a warm clean cloth and wipe around the rims of the jars so they are clear of jam drips, just helps keeping the jam seal airtight for a longer period.
Get the lids on the jars ASAP and let stand until cool before labelling and storing in a cool dark spot. This generally keeps for up to year but realistically it doesn’t last that long in our household!
I use jam as a wee treat on toast or fresh bread and the kids really love it. I find in doing so it’s a novelty and they look forward to the next yummy jammy snack. Also mixing it in with some beautiful local or homemade yoghurt makes a lovely brekkie addition, a quick desert or a lunchbox snack. The bonus of this is that you get to control the amount you add which I am sure is gotta be lower in sugar and void of those ‘extra not needed ingredients’.
See you at the next recipe, until then..
Remember be inspired and keep cooking like it’s ‘better than a bought one’