Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Plum Jam recipe

Plums. Their smooth tight skin wrapped around sweet oval flesh, are just coming into season. This year we have a glut. With gloriously overloaded plum trees, if you are lucky enough to have a friend or neighbour to ask, then you can return a pot or two of jam as a thank you. There are all types of plum, and any will do for this recipe. Of course there is the Victoria plum and Green Gages, and you can find locally grown ones in the farm shops, but if you explore a little further into the countryside you may be lucky and discover a Mirabelle or Damson tree. It’s worth checking with the owner’s first, but generally people would prefer to see them made into jam, than get eaten by the wasps. It’s also is worth looking out for their delicious cousins nectarines and peaches, which will also make a superb jam using the same recipe below. These sleek round shiny fruit really do make the most scrumptious jam. What could be better than a cup of hot tea and spooning plum jam over hot buttered toast in the morning?

1.5kg of Plums (stones removed)
1.1kg Jam sugar

Heat the oven on 150 Celsius/ gas mark 2/ 300F
Pop a plate into the fridge
Put the jars (not the lids) in to the oven
Place the chopped Plums in to a large pan. Cover and stir occasionally for about 8 minutes.
Once the consistency is soft add the sugar and dissolve.
The jam then needs 10 – 15 minutes on a rolling bubble. Stir occasionally.
Remove jam jars from the oven.
As the jam boils scoop off any froth like soaps to improve the jam’s clarity. No more than half a cup of froth. When the jam coats the back of the metal spoon it is ready to test. The best test to see if the jam will set is the wrinkle test. Remove the pot from the heat whist you test. Put a small amount of the jam on the cold saucer from the fridge. After minute or so the jam should be cool and wrinkle a little, as you run your finger through the centre.
If not, simply return to the boil and repeat this test in another 2 – 3 minutes.
Whilst still hot ladle the jam into the hot jars using a jam funnel or small jug. Put the lids on after a minute as the heat from the jam will ensure the lids are sterilised. Careful l not to burn yourself and don’t worry if the jar lid is not done up tightly. You can tighten them further when the jars have cooled down. Makes five 1lb jars
I get my jam jars from a super company at
Linked recipes
Lamb Shanks


  1. Alastair Kimbell19 August 2010 at 10:52

    What a great video, I can't wait to get home. A very professional video, and what a great recipe.

  2. I know someone with a plum tree, i will give this a try. Plum jam on toast for breakfast YUM

  3. Hi Vanessa. Last night I spread your sensational cherry and vanilla jam on two thick slices of hot buttered toast. The sweet sharp cherries melt in the mouth and the fresh vanilla washes over the taste buds.Very satisfying indeed! I am now thinking of other foods to try the jam with just as an excuse to open the jar. May I request that you tell no one else about this jam and ship all remaining jars to my house. Thank you.

  4. You'll get plenty more jam with compliments like that !


  5. Hi Vanessa
    Love the blog!
    I have a question for you actually.
    I tried making blackcurrant jelly this year (I'm not keen on pippy jam)
    and it worked really well, it is delicious and a lovely clear bright colour,
    however it is very solid - still spreadable but not 'wobbly' if you
    see what I mean. Any suggestions as to what I did wrong?

  6. Hi Sophie,

    well done for making your own .. it sounds delicious. Blackberries are low in pectin and need jam sugar or extra pectin adding. I am not sure you did anything wrong as such .. but it sounds as though you may have boiled it too much. A soft set is better and the extra pectin will reduce the need to over boil. Try and keep to a short hot rolling boil .. Rather than a long slow simmer.

    The French are good at soft set jams - they don't boil the fruit to death! ..Testing early on means the fruit stays as light and fruity as possible - the less you boil it the better..but you still have to boil it enough to get it to set. So I advise that you test it earlier next time.

    Pop a saucer it the fridge and test by dropping a teaspoon on it .. allow to cool( after 3 minutes back in the fridge) and if it wrinkles as you run your finger through the cooled jam) then it is ready. If you are not happy with the consistency then return to the boil for another 3 - 4 minutes and try again.

    Hope this helps .. let me know how you get on!


  7. I made some plum jam today but found your recipe too late ! The recipe I used said to add water (which I did) and the jam simply won't set and is very runny. A real shame and a wasted kilo of plums !

  8. Dear Anonymous Jam maker,

    I so hope you haven't thrown it away !!

    You can rescue it and turn it into the most delicious plum syrup. You will need to add a cup of water to get the juices running again use your judgement .. you may not need even that .. but it needs to be able to drip slowly through a sieve. Re boil the juice briefly and decant into clean sterile bottles.

    It should come out as a rich plumy deep red syrup. It will be delicious.

    You can use this in lots of ways. As a cordial. With a drop of ginger ale and brandy for a super cocktail, and drizzles over vanilla ice cream. You can even turn it into a sorbet by cutting it 50/50 with water and freezing in the same way you would making ice-cream.

    I hope you are reading this with the pan still on the hob !


  9. I know where there are some wild plums - think I will be making a visit. Love English plum time! Hope to see you sometime soon. Heidi


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