Making your own plum jam is always delicious!

Plum Jam

plum jam is easy to make when you have a fruit tree in your backyard!
Plum jam is easy to make when you have a fruit tree in your backyard!

Few things are as satisfying as making something delicious off of your own fruit tree. Here in California, plum trees are plentiful and grow with wild abandon. Often, there are so many fresh plums that come off the tree at once, there is no way we can eat so many! Make preserves to avoid wasting any fresh plums!

You will only need a few key ingredients to make your own plum jam. Plums, sugar, pectin and a little lemon juice.

Do I Need to Remove the Skins?

Yes, you need to remove the skins. The skins become sour and tough when added to jams. Moreover, the skins are difficult to chew when enjoying the jam. While the skins do contain a lot of pectin, it’s best to remove them before adding the sugar to the flesh.

If you do choose to leave the skins on your fruit, you should run the jam through a blender or food processor to chop them up so you’re not chewing on them.

How to Poach Plums

Poaching a ripe plum is actually quite easy, and the riper it is, the easier it will be. It also only will take a few minutes of your time.

Take a small paring knife and make an “X” into the bottom of the plum. Place the plum into a pot of boiling water. You can poach more than one plum at a time, just be careful not to crowd the pot. Have a large ice water bath set up, since your plums will only need to poach for about 30 seconds. As soon as you put them into the boiling water, you will see the skins begin to peel off.

The ice water bath will keep the plums from continuing to cook. The skins should just rub off with your fingers.

plum jam is made by poaching plums first.
plum jam is made by poaching plums first.
After poaching, the skills will easily peel off with just your hands.
After poaching, the skills will easily peel off with just your hands.

After the skins are off, slice the ripe flesh of the plum with the same paring knife and put it into an empty stockpot. You should have around 8 cups of flesh.

After the skins are off, slice the ripe flesh of the plum with the same paring knife and put it into an empty stockpot. You should have around 8 cups of flesh.

How to Make Plum Jam

After poaching the plums and the skins and pits are removed, you will be left with the flesh of the plums.

Plums freshly picked for plum jam.
Plums freshly picked for plum jam.

This recipe calls for a 1:1/2:1/2:1/2 ratio of ingredients, which makes it easy to scale.

If you have 8 cups of plums, add in 4 cups of sugar and 4 tablespoons of pectin and 4 teaspoons of lemon juice.

Do I Need Pectin?

Pectin is a naturally occurring substance that help jams and jellies gel. It’s found in the cell walls of fruits and vegetables but it is most densely in the skins. It’s what gives structure to your plums. The riper the fruit is, the less pectin that will be found in the skin.

Because pectin is in the skins of the plums, when you take them off, you will need to reintroduce it to your plum jam.

When you buy pectin at the store, you will be able to find it in a liquid and powder form.

Pectin is what helps your jams and jellies to set, so you may not see your plum jam thicken right away. The first time I made this recipe, it took a full 24 hours for my jam to set. Because you may not see immediate results from your pectin, it may be tempting to continue adding more pectin to your pot. I implore you not to do this- you will end up with an incredibly goopy jam that is impossible to spread. (But I do encourage you to add more sugar if you would like). Follow the recipe and trust the process.

After the skins are off, slice the ripe flesh of the plum with the same paring knife and put it into an empty stockpot. You should have around 8 cups of flesh.

Is Plum Jam the Same as Plum Jelly?

While similar, plum jam and plum jelly are two different products. Jam is made with fruit while jelly is made from juice.

Jam tends to be thicker and will hold its shape better than jelly. Jelly tends to more translucent while jam is more opaque since jam is made with the whole fruit.

Canning your Plum Jam

Canning your jam will keep your freshly made product from spoiling through the winter. It will also keep it fresh for Christmas gifts!

For canning this plum jam, you will only need basic canning supplies. A couple of glass mason jars, a funnel, pressure or water canner, and a jar lifter for canning.

The current guidelines for canning tend to get updated every year. For the most updated instructions, read them here.

What Goes Well with Plum Jam

There are many ways to eat your freshly made plum jam.

Drizzle it on ice cream, serve it on top of pound cake. Or enjoy your jam by slather it on top of a slice of freshly toasted focaccia, biscuits or sourdough with freshly-made ricotta.

Looking for something similar? Try a traditional lemon curd recipe.

Plum Jam

5 from 1 vote
Recipe by Sarah Course: UncategorizedCuisine: American, EnglishDifficulty: Easy
Servings

80

servings
Prep time

30

minutes
Cooking time

30

minutes
Calories

150

kcal

Ingredients

  • 8 cups halved and pitted plums

  • 4 cups sugar

  • 4 tbsp pectin

  • 4 tsp lemon juice

Directions

  • Poach the plums. Make an “X” with a pairing knife on the bottom of the plums. Add your plums to a pot with a rolling boil. Let them poach for about 30 seconds and then remove with a slotted spoon and add them to an ice bath. The skins should easily come off.
  • Cut the pulp off. After the skins are off, you can either cut the plums in half and take the seeds out, or you can cut chunks of flesh off the pit and put the pulp back into an empty pot. You should have 8 cups of pulp, but this recipe is easily adjustable if you have more or less fruit.
  • Boil. Heat the plums in your pot over medium heat and add your pectin. When it begins to boil add in your sugar and continue to boil for about 10 minutes. You will want your jam to come to a hard boil for 10 minutes, the type of boil you can’t stir away.
  • Can. While the jam is still hot, put it into sterilized mason jars and tighten the lids onto the jars. You can find more extensive instructions on how to can your jam here.

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