Due to travel, it has been a been over a week since my last post. I tell you, life is really crazy.
When I got home I found that the French improved plum tree in my backyard was ready for harvest. We grabbed several bags, one of which was pitted and put into my dehydrator. The other one was pitted and put into a pot for preserves/jam. The recipe we use is a 2 ingredient variety that just takes longer to complete than one that calls for pectin.
The recipe is as follows:
- Use about a 20 small plum/prune to 4.5 cups of sugar ratio. 12 fruit to 4.5 cups of sugar for the bigger plums.
- Stir the fruit and sugar up, then leave it to sit for about 2 hours.
- Heat the mixture up slowly until all the sugar is melted. This should be done on 3/10 or 4/10 on your heat setting. Once the sugar becomes mostly liquid and not all grainy, bring your heat up to 6/10 and get it steadily bubbling.
- Once your mixture is completely bubbling, turn your heat up to the lower portion of your high setting, 8/10, for about 10 minutes. Stir the mixture constantly.
- Turn the heat down to about 3/10 and stir it until the bubbling subsides dramatically. Let it simmer for about 10 minutes.
- Take the mixture off the heat and let it sit until it is cool enough to comfortably sit on the skin without burning.
- Repeat the heating process another 4 times to complete a full 5 heating cycles.
Once the final heat is done, take the mixture off the stove and fill your sterilized jars. Just follow current canning standards.
The more times that you heat the mixture, the thicker the preserves/jam will be. If you happen to add too much sugar, you can always just use it as syrup or a sauce. The nice thing about making jellies and jams is that there is no such thing as a bad batch. You just improvise the label and use it a bit differently.
We were finishing our 3rd heating cycle last night so I don’t have any pictures of the finished jam yet. The whole process can take 2-3 days due to the heating and cooling cycles. Because of all the sugar you don’t have to worry about bacteria growing. It is fairly well preserved once the first heat cycle is completed, but the follow up cycles set your consistency and thickness.