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In August we picked large volumes of Oriental Plums. I ended up canning 12 quarts and 16 pints of Plum Syrup and made 8 pints of Jelly. After that insanity was over I said NO MORE PLUMS!! I did not want to see another plum! Well…
We are involved with a gleaning group. I received an email last week saying that there were plums and apples available for people to pick. Well I was not going to go (along with the plums we have had also processed about 800 apples in the last month) but after learning that no one else was going I kept envisioning this beautiful fruit just rotting and being a waste. So, I talked the neighbor lady into coming with us and off we went!
The poor plum tree was heavy laden. I think I heard it audibly sigh as we took the plums off the branches. Much of the fruit was overripe and past saving but we gleaned about 3 5-gallon buckets. The plums were literally popping out of the skins so I found a few people in need that were willing to process them immediately and still had a small bucket worth. The beautiful ones are in the fridge for eating and here I find myself… staring at plums… staring at little annoying fruit flies…
My Carpenter was hoping for some chunky preserves to go on his late night PB&J sandwiches. I am not sure if it is my hate for those tiny flying beasts hovering over the plums or the need to not let the fruit go to waste that gave me that final motivation but… Plum preserves here we come.
I adapted a recipe I found in my Ball Blue Book of Preserves. It is beautiful and tasty but it became syrup NOT jam…. Sigh… so next time I will be using pectin. Here is the recipe anyways in case you want some wonderful syrup J
5 cups pitted tart plums (about 2 ½ pounds) (I cut them into fourths)
4 cups sugar
1 cup water
2 tsp. cinnamon
Combine first three ingredients in a large saucepan. Bring slowly to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Cook to almost gelling point. As mixture thickens, stir frequently to prevent sticking and burning. Add cinnamon. Remove from heat. Skim foam if necessary. Ladle into hot jars leaving ¼-inch headspace. Wipe rims and add lid and ring. Adjust to just finger tightness. Process in boiling-water canner for 15 minutes.
Yield: about 5 half-pints
What I learned:
I searched several sources for a recipe because I was confused by the lack of pectin in the ingredients. Most recipes were basically the same. After several sources I finally learned that apparently you do not need to use pectin in making these preserves because plums have a lot of pectin in them already. Well, guess that was not the case with mine. Why? I have no idea….
This last canning season I came across some great canning sites. Here are a few:
Canning Granny http://canninggranny.blogspot.com/
National Center for Home and Food Preservation http://nchfp.uga.edu/
Enjoy your Cooking Adventures! (Failures included)