Plum Jam, 18p a jar if you have foraged fruit

Aug 26, 2013 | 4 comments


Well, the plum jam is LOVELY, although a tad sweet, so next batch, I’ll try using less sugar.

If you have plums to use, this might be of interest. Some people can forage plums, but I’ve never been lucky enough to see a tree to forage from.

Jars of jam

For the five jars I made, you will need a kilo of plums and a kilo of sugar. Although next time I will try 750g instead of a kilo of sugar. You can use some cooking apples in with the plums if you don’t have many. Cooking apples have a good amount of pectin which is the thing that makes jam set. If you can get some un-ripe plums mixed in with your fruit, they have more pectin too.

Put the plums in a large, heavy based pan, preferably a preserving pan if you can, with 250ml water. Simmer them until soft. I removed the stones beforehand as some of my plums have maggots in and I didn’t want to preserve them, yeargh. You could leave the plums whole if you don’t have this issue and skim the stones off as they come out of the fruit.

Or you can crack some of the stones and add some of the kernels for an intriguing almond flavour.

When the fruit is cooked, add the sugar and stir until dissolved, then boil fairly rapidly until setting point is reached, about 220F degrees. It shouldn’t take ages and ages. The sooner setting point is reached, the fresher and more fruity your jam will taste.

You can use a sugar thermometer for this, I use the one that I stab into a chicken to know if it is done. Or chill a small plate in the fridge and put some of the jam on it, just a tsp and put back in the fridge. After a minute, take it out and gently push it with a finger. If the top ruffles up and has a skin, it has reached setting point and you can pot it.

While the jam is boiling, get your jam jars and make them squeakily clean and dry. Give them a good wash, dry them with a clean tea towel and pop them in a warm oven to make really dry, and warm.

When your jam is ready, skim off any scum. Or stir in a little knob of butter or spread, it dissolves some of the scum back into the jam. Carefully ladle the jam into the warm jars. If you have any, put a wax circle on top of the jam, it helps prevent mould forming. If you have jars with lids, pop them on now, while the jam is still hot. Otherwise, put the cellophane circles on with the little elastic bands to keep them clean.

If you don’t have any of those, you can wait until it’s cold, and freeze it.

If you get your fruit for free, this jam costs just 18p a jar.

Jam can be used in lots of ways. With pancakes, on rice pudding, on toast for breakfast, as the sweet layer in a steamed sponge or cake, in oaty breakfast bars (flapjacks with a layer of jam in the middle), I’m sure you know lots of ways to use it



  1. Lesley

    Thanks for that, I’ll give it a go next time I do some. Maybe the next few pots of plum jam! There are only the two of us, and I do try not to eat too much sweet stuff. Although as you say, people love a gift of home made jam.
    I made some picalilli a couple of years ago and it turned out lovely, but most of it got given away, very apreciated it was too. Lovely to hear those delighted thanks, gives me a lovely warm glow.

  2. Rita

    Thank you for trying to find a solution. It’s just one of those things I suppose. I like to give away a lot of the jam I make because people enjoy it. Thank goodness I hadn’t given any of the rhubarb. I stored the jam in the shed which gets quite warm sometimes. Maybe that’s the cause.
    Microwave jam – so simple I didn’t believe it would work. The first batch I took out and stirred half way through. Made another batch today and didn’t stir it. It seems to be just as good as jam made the traditional way, and I DO think the taste is better. I plan to use it with other berries, but not sure if it will work with fruit other than berries – I’ll have to do some research.
    I microwaved 2lb of blackberries for 7 minutes and then
    mashed them with a potato masher. I used equal weight of sugar with the first batch, and a sachet of pectin (which I bought from Approved Foods for pennies ages ago) and microwaved for 14 minutes. Microwave on high. Then just bottle as usual. I used a little less sugar with the second batch. It isn’t cool yet, but I’m expecting it to set OK.

  3. Lesley

    Have never microwaved jam, and wouldn’t have thought of doing it either, sounds interesting. How long did you have to microwave it for?
    As regards your rhubarb jam and the taste of rancid butter, what a shame, and after only a year too, jam will usually last for many years with no apparent change. I have not had a problem like that and I have made jam for many years. I almost always put a little butter in as I don’t like to waste any by scooping off the scum! Just had a bit of Google round to see if I could find anything about it, and although I could find lots of places saying to put it in, no-one mentioned anything about it going off. Even the sainted Delia says to put it in. So I’m at a bit of a loss as to what to suggest really.

  4. Rita

    I foraged 2lb of blackberries yesterday and made microwave jam. It’s lovely and tastes better than jam I have made in the conventional way, possibly because it is not boiled for so long, it tastes so fresh.
    Can I ask about adding butter to the jam? I did that with rhubarb jam last year, and when I came to eat it, I could taste rancid butter even though the butter I used was fresh. Do you have any advice?

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