A few weeks ago I transported a box full of greengage plums, plus my mother’s old preserving pan back from my parent’s house in the back of a mini. There was around 1kg of fruit that we had picked from the large tree in their garden. At home, you could always tell when the fruit was getting ripe by the soft ‘splat’ from the plums as they fell from the tree and onto the patio below, to be nibbled on by wasps and other insects. That was when the ladder would have to come out, to reach all those fruits that would inevitably be just beyond your fingertips, forcing you to tiptoe on the top of the ladder in a particularly precarious way.
I never sought these plums out when I was little (being somewhat fruit-averse as a child) but now, older and wiser, while I still don’t fancy eating them raw from the tree, I can appreciate their worth as cooking material. First thoughts would be as roast fruit, a crumble or a jam. Having roasted plums very successfully when they arrived in my organic box a month or so ago (using Gordon Ramsay’s recipe from ‘Just Desserts‘) I went for jam this time.
As so often when stuck for a recipe, I went to my Google customised search, which covers blogs as well as recipe sites like the BBC and Waitrose.com. There, I found a beautifully simple recipe on Orangette. This follows the simple principle of macerating the fruit with the sugar in advance (something that I believe is supposed to keep the fruit whole), and then boiled until a set is reached. This only made 2 jars of jam, but considering the small amount of fruit I had and the tastiness of the jam, that’s just fine with me.
- around 875g plums or greengages, to give 800g stoned fruit
- 400g granulated sugar
- juice of 1/2 small lemon
Mix everything together in a non-metallic bowl and macerate for at least 2 hours, and up to 6.
Sterilise jam jars (I only needed 2) by washing them in hot water, or in the dishwasher, then placing on a tray in a 140C oven for 30 minutes.
Transfer the fruit & sugar mixture to a preserving pan or wide saucepan. Bring to to a boil and boil for 30 minutes. Skim the foam from the surface about 10 or 15 minutes in. Test the set briefly on a cold plate, then pot and seal.
As plums are high in pectin, you shouldn’t have any problem with the set – in fact, mine was quite firm, so I could probably have got away with a shorter boiling time.