That plum jam seems to play in my memory the most. Rich, gooey and delicious, we used it for everything from thick buttered pieces of Italian bread to stuffing for dessert gnocchi. After a recent attempt at making pierogis, I was inspired to finally try my own version of plum jam, taking advantage of in-season Italian plums. The results were exactly right: as sticky sweet and satisfying as I remember.
Italian Plum Jam
yields 5-6 cups
Without a recipe to follow, I did a quick search online and found that most plum jams are nothing more than plums, sugar and pectin. While I had the jars, the plums and the sugar, I hadn't thought about buying pectin, so this version doesn't use any. This recipe from Taste Hungary provided the inspiration.
Approx 4 lb Italian plums*
8 oz sugar (by weight)
Juice of one lemon
1 cup water (optional)
* For the amount of effort it takes to make the jam, the next time around I'll be using lots more plums and adjusting the sugar accordingly. Stay tuned for details!
Equipment you'll need:
Large heavy non-reactive stockpot
Canning pot or oversized stockpot
Mason jars (4 oz or 8 oz size)
New lids and screwtops
1. Wash, half and pit the plums. Place in a large, heavy non-reactive stockpot (my Le Creuset was perfect), add the sugar, water if using and the lemon juice. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly to avoid sticking.
3. The jam is ready when the plums are completely soft and the liquid has become very thick and syrupy. It took about 3 hours for my 4 lb of plums; probably less time would be required if I hadn't added the water.
6. When all of the jars are ready, you're ready to can! Place the funnel in a jar and carefully ladle the hot jam in, being careful to leave a ½" at the top. Wipe any excess jam off the top of the jar, place a lid on the jar, and put a metal band (threaded lid) on, turning so that the band is on securely but not too snugly.
"Option 1: Press the middle of the lid with a finger or thumb. If the lid springs up when you release your finger, the lid is unsealed.For more great tips and a detailed FAQ on home canning, see the Pick Your Own web site.
Option 2: Tap the lid with the bottom of a teaspoon. A clear ringing sound means a good seal. If it makes a dull sound, the lid is not sealed. If food is in contact with the underside of the lid, it will also cause a dull sound (that is not a problem or a sign of spoilage). If the jar is sealed correctly, it will make a ringing, high-pitched sound.
Option 3: Hold the jar at eye level and look across the lid. The lid should be concave (curved down slightly in the center). If center of the lid is either flat or bulging, it may not be sealed."