I’m on a canning frenzy. I love the sound of the “ping” as the jar seals. It is the most rewarding sound ever, and makes standing in a kitchen for a sauna forgettable, especially as the temperatures outside approach 100 degrees F. In fact, I think it was hotter in the kitchen than it was outside. But I digress.
I think an intervention may necessary soon because the pantry might soon be filled with canned jams, chutneys, and pickled vegetables. It is as if there was a Y2K nearing and I’m stocking up for the unknown. It’s out of control. I spend my time off canning. I just can’t stop. I still have a refrigerator full of mangoes, strawberries, and figs that I just picked up from the local farmer’s market ready to be preserved.
I am addicted to canning.
Plum Jam Sans Pectin
1 pound of black plums, peeled and chopped into 1/2-inch dices (about 2 cups)
1/2 large lemon, zest and juice
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter (reduces the foaming)
Put a few small ceramic dish into the freezer.
In a large, non-reactive saucepan, combine the chopped plums, zest and juice of one lemon, sugar, and butter. Slowly bring the mixture to a boil over medium high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. [Taste the mixture, and adjust the sugar to your liking. I prefer a little more tartness to my jam.]
Continue to stir occasionally as the fruit begins to breakdown, reduce and thicken, about 20 minutes. As soon as it thickens, start to test the preserves for the jellying point. Dip a large spoon into the mixture and hold it over the pot, and observe the syrup dripping off the spoon. If it holds onto the spoon and *slowly* drips back into the pot, then it has reached the jellying point.
Take out one of the ceramic dishes from the freezer. Ladle a small teaspoonful of the jam onto the cold dish and put it back into the freezer for one minute. Remove the dish from the freezer and draw your finger through the jam. If the jam does not close up the channel, then it’s ready.
If processing, pour hot preserves mixture into a hot, sterile 1/2-pint glass canning jar, filling jar to within 1/4-inch from top; wipe rim and seal jar with lid. Put jar in water-bath canner or on rack set in a deep kettle and cover with hot water by 1 to 2 inches. Boil and process in a boiling water bath, covered, 10 minutes. Transfer jar to a rack using tongs and let cool completely. Store in a cool, dark place, up to one year.
If you are not interested in canning, ladle jam into clean jars and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.
Makes 1 half-pint jar.