Making plum jam

My plum tree is overloaded so as I've been going all OS recently, want to make jam to give to friends/family. I'm confused about the pectin - some recipes say add pectin, some don't - do I add or not? And how much sugar (is any type OK, or is one better than another) should I add?

I also don't have a kitchen scale so need to measure using Cup measurements, and average the amount of plums. Can anyone help with a simple recipe that actually works well as it's my first attempt?

Thanks in advance.
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Replies

  • squeakysqueaky Forumite
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    We have a few threads that wander into jam making, but while you're waiting for an expert to show up you might like to read through these...

    Help with making jam

    Making jam in a microwave

    Making jam

    :)
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  • Ted_HutchinsonTed_Hutchinson
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    I don't add pectin to plum jam.
    I use the same weight of sugar to plum
    6lb plum 6lb sugar + One and a half pints water
    If I were cooking the plums in a microwave or pressure cooker I would only use threequarters of a pint of water.

    If you haven't got scales cook the plums and when cooked measure the volume of plums in a jug and add one pound of sugar to each pint of cooked plums.

    You might be able to get a good idea of the weight of plums in a carrier bag by getting on your scales, checking your weight then weighing yourself holding the carrier bag of plums. You should be able to get a good idea of suddenly being 2 or 3 kg heavier.
    I stone the plums before cooking other people cooked the plums and fish out the stones with a slotted spoon as they cook and boil off the jam.

    If you were my neighbour I'd be pleased to weigh out your plums into six pound bags for the bonus of some free samples.
    Edit: agree with Culpepper above. No need for preserving sugar with plum jam. Should be ok with the cheapest granulated you can find.
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  • culpepperculpepper Forumite
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    I always use granulated sugar when jam making and its always fine.
    I believe the preserving sugar is just quicker to dissolve.You can even use brown sugar or treacle though I havent tried them.
  • I don't add pectin to plum jam.
    I use the same weight of sugar to plum
    6lb plum 6lb sugar + One and a half pints water
    If I were cooking the plums in a microwave or pressure cooker I would only use threequarters of a pint of water.

    If you haven't got scales cook the plums and when cooked measure the volume of plums in a jug and add one pound of sugar to each pint of cooked plums.

    You might be able to get a good idea of the weight of plums in a carrier bag by getting on your scales, checking your weight then weighing yourself holding the carrier bag of plums. You should be able to get a good idea of suddenly being 2 or 3 kg heavier.
    I stone the plums before cooking other people cooked the plums and fish out the stones with a slotted spoon as they cook and boil off the jam.

    If you were my neighbour I'd be pleased to weigh out your plums into six pound bags for the bonus of some free samples.
    Edit: agree with Culpepper above. No need for preserving sugar with plum jam. Should be ok with the cheapest granulated you can find.

    What do i do?
    Chop the plums (skin them?)
    Boil them with water... adding sugar.
    Cook for a bit
    Stick in a jar?

    Is that about right?

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  • Chris25Chris25 Forumite
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    I followed a link to making jam in a microwave and and after experimenting found that I could get 2 smallish jars of plum jam by using..............

    2 cups chopped plums (skins on)
    1 cup sugar
    1 teaspoon lemon juice
    half-teaspoon butter mix all in a large bowl on high for 7 mins, stir and fill jars.

    Squeaky recommends that you cook for 5 mins, check and stir. Then check again every few minutes. The original recipe called for 15 mins cooking time and the jam then came out too thick. For me, 7 mins was ideal.

    We also tend to like a 'soft' consistency - you can increase the sugar to 1.5 cups if you like it well set.
  • Ted_HutchinsonTed_Hutchinson
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    What do i do?
    Chop the plums (skin them?)
    Don't skin them
    Boil them with water...
    SIMMER not boil for about 1hr or more till well cooked down. This is where a pressure cooker saves a lot of time as it's quicker and you use half the amount of water.
    ... adding sugar.
    When the fruit is cooked and you've fished out most of the stones if you didn't destone them first add the sugar, Most people will put the sugar in a warm over to heat it up while the fruit is cooking, this makes it quicker to stir in and dissolve. But be patient at this stage.
    Cook for a bit
    As soon as you think all the sugar has completely dissolved turn heat up to maximum and boil hard until setting point is reached.
    To test setting point I put a metal plate in the freezer before I start jamming. If you watch the boiling very carefully you will learn to judge when after about 8 mins the rolling boil slightly changes it's roll. I turn off the heat at this point and put a spoonful of jam on the cold metal plate and pop that back in the freezer for a minute. Then when I take it out and push the edge of the jam with a finger the top surface of the jam will wrinkle up. This tells you it's at setting point or not. If it's cold but still runny then I put the heat back on full and boil for a bit longer. 5mins should do it. Then test again.
    Stick in a jar?
    Best to warm the jar in the oven while you are warming the sugar. Hot jam straight into cold jars will crack them. If you are using screw lids the jam needs to be hot when it goes into the jars and the lids need screwing on straight away.
    Edit: I see the post below is suggesting adding a bit of butter to the jam as it boils. This is to reduce some of the scum which comes from the fruit in a very vigorous boiling. It may be more necessary in microwave jammaking as you haven't the same margin of error with bowls in the microwave as jam in jampan so it would be more likely to boil over. If I were wanting jam for a show I'd do it but generally I don't bother. But my fruit comes staight from the garden so hasn't been hanging around and I don't get much problem with scum.
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  • Thanks for the tips. I haven't made the jam yet but will come back with the results when the deed is done.
  • Turning_into_scroogeTurning_into_scrooge Forumite
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    thanks for these recepies i think i may have a go at making some myself, years since i've mad my own jam but oh it did used to taste really good, so much better than shop bought unless it was hoemade shop bought :T :A
  • harpo1harpo1 Forumite
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    Its that time of year & the race is between me & the wasps to see who gets the plums in the garden first.
    Does anyone out there have any ideas on preserving/chutney/jam stuff that are SIMPLE & easy for a beginner. A real beginner, no really an absolute amateur. Not all the fruit is perfect - we don't spray anything & the wind has knocked a few to the ground
    I'd even have a go at wine making - Its been a brilliant year for trees & it would break my heart to let this go to waste.

    Thanks
    :confused:
  • cath-wcath-w Forumite
    132 Posts
    The best thing to do is go to the library and get some books on chutney and jam making and recipes. It is quite easy to do and the recipes are easy to follow.

    However, the hardest thing is working out how to bottle things correctly. There are several ways to do this. I make my own pickles and jams from home grown food and I found that there was a lot of confusion as to how to bottle things correctly so that it keeps.

    You can either hot bottle or cold bottle things. I have done both. I made some strawberry jam and knew that it would not last long as it would soon get eaten. I simply made the jam and stuck it into jars. End of story.

    However, if I am doing things correctly and want to store the food for 6 months or so I will sterialise things first. You can do this in many ways, with water baths, microwave, in the oven, with a pressure cooker or pressure canner.

    Here is the oven method.
    - Wash and rinse the jars and leave to dry.
    - Place on a baking sheet right side up with the lids open in a cold oven.
    - Heat the oven to 110c / 225 F / gas 1/4 and bake for 30 mins
    - leave jars to cool slightly, but still fill when hot and the product is hot too
    - seal jars

    When you open them you will find that they will probably 'pop' as the seal is broken. You may also find that the pop loudly when cooling after first sealed.


    Also, instead of buying a jam thermometer for preserves you can test for the setting point using a plate and a wooden spoon. Here is the method.
    - place a small plate in the frideg to cool
    - when you think you are near to the setting point (re. your recipe) take some of the jam on a wooden spoon and drop onto the cold plate
    - leave for a few seconds to cool
    - push the jam across the plate with your finger, e.g. put your finger behind the lump of jam and push it away from you
    - if the jam wrinkles in front of your finger then the setting point has been reached.

    Good luck
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