Saturday, August 17, 2013

Cherry Plum Jam

There is a hedgerow along a cycle path beside a light industrial estate near here that is full of Cherry Plum trees. It's getting on for the right time of year for fruit, so we wandered past there last night on the way home - and found that the fruit was ripe and ready. After a quick trip home for buckets and a stepladder, we picked several kg.

This morning's first job was washing and picking over the fruit, which left us with 6.5kg for jam-making.

Now, cherry plums are so small that to de-stone them all is just a thankless task. So I cut them approximately in half - the stoneless half goes in the maslin to be a chunk of fruit in the finished jam, and the stoned half goes in the pressure cooker for pulping. This way I also get to find and remove any Plum Moth caterpillars that may be munching away around the stone. One of the hazards of (semi-)wild organic fruit!

Stew the pressure-cooker full of fruit, let cool and press through a sieve or small-holed colander to separate the stones from the pulp. Add the fruit pulp to the fruit chunks in the maslin, and throw the stones on the compost heap.

For each kg of cherry plums as weighed before cooking, add 750g of sugar and 2 tbsp lemon juice.

Gently heat, whilst stirring, until the sugar dissolves and the fruit chunks have cooked. Then bring to the boil and boil until jam setting point is reached.

Let cool whilst the jars warm, and stir as it cools and thickens to distribute the fruit chunks evenly. Pack into warm jars and seal in the usual way.