Friday, June 19, 2009

Pluot Jam

Sometimes we buy more pluots and plums than we can eat at the farmer's market. We also grow Santa Rosa Plums in our yard and a guy that works with Stacy brings Santa Rosa plums to the office to give away. The season is so short every year that we want to gobble up as much of the delicious fruits as possible, but we can only eat so much. So I use the extra to make jam.

Jam is so easy and you don't need any expensive equipment. Since I put jam into 8 oz jars, I use my stock pot as the canning processor. I buy the jars at the local supermarket. I like the Kerr Quilted Crystal Jelly Jars.
The recipe is simple and works with all kinds of fruits and berries.
For every cup of cooked fruit add 1 cup of sugar and a squeeze of lemon. I peel the fruit by scoring an x on the bottom of each pluot; boiling for 30 seconds to a minute until the skins start to curl a bit; then into an ice water bath to cool. Then I peel the fruit over the sauce pan I will cook the fruit in so I don't lose any juice. Then on the stove to simmer with the lemon juice for about 20 minutes to 30 minutes to cook the fruit to mush. I leave the pits in during this part.

To test if the fruit is ready to be jellied, freeze a plate in your freezer. Put a spoon of the fruit on the frozen plate. Let it cool for a minute and then drag your finger through the dollop. If the fruit runs back together, continue cooking and test again in five minutes. If the valley stays in the fruit, then you're ready to can. I use a jar lifter, canning funnel, lid caddy (to sterilize the lids) and a magnetic lid lifter. These gadgets are cheap and make the whole job so much easier.

Remove the pits from the cooked fruit. My food mill works great for this. A colander also works. While the fruit finishes cooking with the sugar I have the jars in boiling water in my stock pot to sterilize. When ready to can, I lift and empty the jars and put on a towel where I will fill them. I then remove the same amount of water from the stock pot that will be fruit in the jars when I process the jars. That's important to avoid a big mess on your stove when you place the filled jars into the pot. Once the jars are out of the water, in go the lids to sterilize and soften the seal a bit. Careful not to leave these in more than five minutes. Meanwhile, fill the jars leaving some head room in the jars and set the lid with a ring just snug. Don't over tighten. It's okay if the last jar isn't completely filled. It will be the first one eaten! Process the jars for 10 minutes. Remove and let stand for a few hours. You can tell if the jars are sealed if the lid doesn't move when you press on it. If you're in the kitchen as the jars seal they make a clicking sound which is reassuring that you are getting good seals.

A note about pectin. Many recipes call for pectin which you can buy at the grocery store usually in the baking section. Pectin occurs naturally in fruits. Less ripe fruits have more and riper fruits have less. If the jam doesn't pass the jelly test, you may can it anyway without adding the manufactured pectin. Then rename your jars pluot spread instead of jam. It tastes divine and goes great on pancakes and toast. If you want a jam that stands at attention on the toast, then add pactin according to package instructions.

No comments:

Post a Comment