I bought a bag of plums this week from Allred Orchards. I wanted to try a small batch recipe of plum jam just to see how it would turn out and taste. It was hard not to just eat all the plums, but I managed to make jam before they were all gone. I’ve been using a 1:4 ratio with stone fruit to make jam. Meaning however much my processed fruit weighs in grams, I divide that by 4 and that’s how much sugar I add. This 1:4 ratio has so far worked perfectly with peaches, apricots, cherries, and now plums. I’ve been using a 1:2 ratio with berries: raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries. Jam on toast in the morning is about all the added sugar I eat in a day, otherwise fruit it how I get my daily dose of sweetness. I am really careful about how much sugar I consume in a day, so I want my jam as low sugar as possible, but to still taste great and last in my cupboard for the year. As a nerd scientist, I enjoy that my jam recipe is so exact. I hated trying to measure my fruit out in “cups”. That was never accurate enough for me. With this method of weighing your fruit, you can’t go wrong and my jam has gotten much more consistent across batches and across fruits. Predictability is good. Try it out the next time you make jam using stone fruit!
Low Sugar, No Pectin Plum Jam
- 3 pounds ripe plums, cleaned, pitted, and chopped
- granulated sugar, 1/4 of the weight of the peeled & pitted plums (about 320 grams / ~1-2 cups)
- 1 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon rose water (optional)
- Place the plums and the sugar in a non-reactive pan or bowl, stir, cover and let macerate for at least 12 hours.
- Prepare water bath canner, jars, and lids. Don’t forgot to add 1/2 cup vinegar to canner water to keep your bottles looking nice.
- When plums are fully macerated and softened, put them through a food mill (coarse). This will remove the skins at the same time. Bonus!
- Transfer the fruit and sugar to a large shallow sauté pan (or electric skillet) and bring to a simmer.
- Simmer until the jam reaches desired gelling stage. Because I used a shallow electric skillet, it took me only about 15-20 minutes to reach the desired gelling stage.
- Once you have obtained desired gelling point, remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice and rose water. Skim foam off if necessary.
- Remove from the heat and ladle the jam into sterilized canning jars, leaving 1/4-inch headroom.
- Wipe rim. Center hot lid on jar. Apply band and adjust until fit is fingertip tight.
- Place jars in canner and return to a boil. Process for 5 minutes (0 – 1,000 feet elevation), 10 minutes (1,001 – 6,000 feet elevation), and 15 minutes (6,001 – 8,000 feet elevation).
- Turn off heat, remove canner lid and let jars sit in the hot water for another 10 minutes. This will prevent too much of the jam from pushing itself out the lids as it is cooling.
- Transfer jars to a towel-lined surface and let stand until completely cool, about 24 hours.
- Check lids and refrigerate any jars that are not sealed.
- Weigh your cleaned and pitted plums in grams. Mine came out to 1275 grams. Divide 1275 by 4 and that’s how much sugar you should add, I added about 320 grams. This 1:4 ratio works great with stone fruit like cherries, apricots, peaches, and plums. For berries like raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, etc. I use a 1:2 ratio instead.
- This jam doesn’t cook much, so it can be very “loose,” or liquid-y. If you cook it longer to thicken it up, you’ll lose some of the very fresh flavor. Accept the looseness and enjoy the flavor!
- This is a small batch recipe and should easily double without resulting in disaster.
- Use the widest and most shallow pan you have, the deeper the pan the longer you will have to cook your jam. You will lose the fresh flavor the longer the jam has to cook.