Not every recipe is a success. Sounds simple enough. I have been struggling for quite some time to find a plum jam recipe I like. A few summers ago, when I first started making jams, I cobbled together a recipe. It was wonderful: sweet, tart, beautifully red. The jam quickly disappeared and I promptly forgot the recipe.
I tried to recreate it with little success, thinking about what cookbooks and blogs I was reading at the time. I tried recipes that were completely different like the Pflaumenmus (Spiced Plum Butter) from The Berlin Kitchen, which was delicious but very unattractive in color.
This version is also nice, although I think the amount of cardamom should be reduced. I tried with 3/4 tbsp and that was better but I might try 1/2 tsp. I also use commercial pectin. I find that, especially with plum, my jams don’t set up in the time frame which they should. This leads me to cook the jam longer and lose the bright, fruity flavors. I don’t keep apple juice around and pectin is shelf-stable for a very long time. If you want to lose the pectin, up the sugar to the 2 cups originally called for.
There is also another important variability when I make jams. I buy “quick sale” bags of fruit. Hefty bags of fruit that is on the edge of overly ripe. Some are hard, some of squished. But for $2, I am happy to slice away the bits that are too far gone. Besides, don’t you think they make the sweetest jam?
Cardamom Plum Jam
Adapted from Canning for a New Generation
3 lb plums, chopped up
1 c sugar
1 lemon, juice and zest
2 tbsp low sugar pectin
1 tbsp cardamom
Place plums and sugar in a large, low pot. Bring up to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes till the plums softened, stirring regularly.
Set a large colander over a bowl and drain the plums. Stir the plums around gently to let out some juice. Return the juice to the pot and bring up to a boil. Cook 5 minutes until thickened, stirring regularly.
Return plums to pot. Add remaining ingredients. Stir to combine. Simmer for another 10-15 minutes until jam thickens. Place a small plate with a dab of jam in the fridge. Jam will not jell but will become thicker. Jam is now ready to be placed in jars and stored in the fridge or canned.