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Cheat's plum jam recipe

Cheat's plum jam recipe

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  • Dish type
  • Preserves
  • Jam
  • Plum jam

For this lightning-fast plum jam, we use dried unsulphurated plums as they are so much more intense in flavour that fresh ones. It lasts for at least a week in the fridge.

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IngredientsServes: 4

  • 150g unsulphurated prunes, stones removed
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 pinch ground cinnamon

MethodPrep:10min ›Cook:5min ›Ready in:15min

  1. Cover the plums with water and allow to soak overnight.
  2. Add the prunes with the lemon zest, cinnamon and some of the soaking water to a pan. Bring to the boil, then remove from heat - done!

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Easy Plum Jam – Small Batch

This plum jam recipe will convert you to jam making. It’s very simple to make, and I find that it takes only a few minutes at the stove, thanks to my favourite small batch method.

Fresh ripe plums are one of the great British soft fruits. They have a short season, so I enjoy them while I can and capture that flavour for the rest of the year by making jam.

Jam will keep safely for several years but it does lose its freshness and flavour over time. I don’t know about you, but the back of my cupboard used to hold far too many jars of ancient too-solid jams. So now I avoid this by making small batches, and enjoying the jam at its best. If I run out before the next season, I’ll enjoy something else instead.

We have used a red plum with a golden flesh for the jam, you can, of course use any type of plum.

Plum Jam

Place the plums and water into a large pot, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the sugar, and add butter to reduce foaming, if needed. Bring the mixture to a full, rolling boil over high heat, stirring constantly, and then mix in the pectin quickly. Return the jam to a full boil, and boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, and skim off and discard any foam.

Sterilize the jars and lids in boiling water for at least 5 minutes. Pack the plum jam into the hot, sterilized jars, filling the jars to within 1/8 inch of the top. Run a knife or a thin spatula around the insides of the jars after they have been filled to remove any air bubbles. Wipe the rims of the jars with a moist paper towel to remove any food residue. Top with lids, and screw on rings.

Place a rack in the bottom of a large stockpot and fill halfway with water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then carefully lower the jars into the pot using a holder. Leave a 2 inch space between the jars. Pour in more boiling water if necessary until the water level is at least 1 inch above the tops of the jars. Bring the water to a full boil, cover the pot, and process for 10 minutes.

Remove the jars from the stockpot and place onto a cloth-covered or wood surface, several inches apart, until cool. Once cool, press the top of each lid with a finger, ensuring that the seal is tight (lid does not move up or down at all). Store in a cool, dark area. Refrigerate opened jars for up to 3 weeks.

Plum Jam(cheap and quick)

Plum jam is so cheap if you grow your own plums or, if you can, harvest the ones growing wild. You simply have the cost of the sugar, a lemon (optional) and the heat from your cooker. Remember before you start, that you will need some sealable jars for the jam.

We don't bother removing the stones from the plums before cooking, it's easier to do this as the jam is simmering and a final check when it boiling. A large slotted spoon is useful for filtering out the stones. The amounts below scale up or down well just keep to the same proportion of weights of fruit and sugar.

This recipe is the one we use to make our own plum jam each year. It is the culmination of three year's experimentation and is exactly how we like it, slightly tarter and fuller flavour maybe compared to some recipes. Leaving out the lemon juice results in a slightly sweeter jam. Increasing the amount of sugar to be the same weight as the fruit will sweeten it further as is the case in most recipes.

As long as you don't deviate from the main proportions too much this recipe will make exceptional jam. Any variety of plum (cooker, eater or growing wild) will be fine for this recipe.

This recipe will make about 5 medium sized jars of plum jam. If sealed and stored in a cool, dark place the jam will last for at least one year. A shelf life of two or more years is quite possible.

1kg / 2lb 3oz plums
800g / 1lb 12oz granulated sugar
Juice from half a lemon (optional)

£1.80 (or free from your garden)
Ingredients cost per jar
Cooking time 55 mins

Calories 45 Protein 0g Carbs 11g
Sugars 11g Fat 0g Saturates 0g

    Wash the plums and remove any stalks

Place the plums in a large pan on a low heat and let them simmer (just barely bubbling). The plums will give off lots of liquid so no additional water is needed.

Let the plums simmer in their own juices for about 40 minutes. Stir them every few minutes to help break them up and ensure they are evenly softened. As you stir, use a slotted spoon to pick out the stones.

Add the lemon juice (optional) and sprinkle in the sugar. Stir well until the sugar is dissolved, about 5 minutes. Taste the jam at this point and add a little more sugar if it is too tart. Different varieties of plum contain differing amounts of sugar.

Turn the heat up high to start the jam boiling. Keep it like that for 12 minutes, stirring every minute to stop any jam sticking to the base of the pan. Make one final check to remove any remaining stones.

Take the pan off the heat to cool down while you sterilise the jars.

Fill the jars nearly to the top with jam and seal with the lid. Leave them to cool slowly which normally takes three to four hours. Label them and include date.

Plums are high in pectin so they can be combined with other low-pectin fruits when making jams to ensure that the low pectin fruits set. They can also be frozen and kept in the freezer for well over three months. Another recipe is a delicious plum crumble.

Recipe Summary

  • 3 pounds plums (or other stone fruit such as peaches, nectarines, or apricots), pitted and quartered
  • 3 cups organic sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

Prepare jars as described in General Rules.

Combine plums, sugar, lemonjuice, and salt in a stockpot overhigh heat. Bring to a boil,mashing with a potato masher.Skim scum off top.

Boil, skimming and stirring frequently,until bubbles slow, youcan see chunks of fruit showingthrough top, and mixtureclings to a spoon, falling offin languid clumps, 10 to 12 minutes.Pick up and discard skinswith a fork, if desired.

Lift jars out of hot water oneat a time, draining water. (See General Rules for how-to's.) Ladlehot jam into hot jars using awide-mouth funnel, leaving1/2-inch headspace. Slide a nonmetallicspatula or chopstickbetween jam and jar to releasetrapped air bubbles.

Wipe rim and threads of jarwith a clean, damp cloth. Removelid from hot water. Placelid on jar. Screw band downevenly and firmly, just until resistanceis met. Place in cannerand lower into water.

Put lid on canner. Bring waterto a boil. Start keeping time afterwater comes to a rolling boil.Process 1/2 pints 10 minutes at agentle but steady boil.

Turn off heat and remove cannerlid. Let canner cool 5 minutes,then remove jars and set themupright on a dry towel or rack.Do not retighten bands. Let jarscool 12 to 24 hours.

After jars have cooled, checklids for a good vacuum seal by pressing on center of each. If center is pulled down and does not flex, remove band and gently try to lift lid off with your fingertips. If lid does not flex and you cannot lift it off, seal is set. Wipe lid and jarsurface with a clean, damp clothto remove food particles andresidue. Label. Store jars in acool, dry, dark place.

Steps to make Plum Jam

Cook not using pectin

Simmer the unchopped plums in granulated sugar and lemon juice, uncovered, until an instant read thermometer reads 220 °F and the jam is set.

OR cook using pectin

Cook the chopped plums with the pectin, granulated sugar and lemon juice according to the package instructions of the pectin. Skim off the foam.

Mash jam

Once set, you may use a potato masher or a hand blender to chop up part of them until you reach a chunkiness of your choice.

Portion out jam

Using sterilized jars, pour the hot jam into the jars to fill no less than ¼-inch from the top and wipe off excess on the rims. Wash the lids, place them on the jars and screw the seal ring, closed.

Boil jars

Boil the sealed jam jars in a water bath canner for 10 minutes. Carefully remove the jars.


Stand your jam jars, undisturbed, for 24 hours before removing the screwed seal ring and storing in a cool, dry place for up to a year.


Once opened, jam will keep in the refrigerator for at least 1 month.

Try this scrumptious, homemade Plum Jam recipe for yourself. A delightful jam jar to keep around the house that you can use to sweeten so many different things. Let us know how you like yours and tag #cookmerecipes in your own homemade jam posts.

Bethany is very passionate about maintaining a healthy lifestyle and clean diet. She’s trying to cut meat out of her diet as much as possible and focuses on cooking vegetarian food and fish. Bethany gets a kick from finding ways to add new twists to classic dishes. What’s more, thanks to her Asian roots, she’s great at combining different cuisines to come up with something extraordinary. Bethany’s recipes will inspire you to add new colors and flavors to your everyday meals.

How to store your plum jam recipe

As long as you ensure the jar is sealed well and has been sterilised properly, it can keep for a few months without being opened. This is why it makes such a good gift, as you can have it ready well in advance. You could even make a big batch - and that's Christmas and birthday presents sorted for the rest of the year.

When you open the jar, it's best to keep the jam in the fridge and eat it within a month. If you start noticing any mould, make sure you get rid of it, as it can make you quite unwell if you eat it. You can add a little twist to this plum jam by adding a bit of cinnamon to it, for a little extra spice. It's perfect on toast for breakfast or scones with cream for a different take on afternoon tea! You can even have it with French toast for brunch if you fancy trying something new. We're getting hungry just thinking about it.

Plum jam, 2 ways

This plum jam makes a small batch without pectin that you can easily can in a water bath on the stove. Feel free to make it plain, or you can flavour it with cinnamon or even Earl Grey tea leaves.

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I love all jams. Who doesn't? My faves include a spiced apple jam and rhubarb jam (no pectin), but lately, I've been craving something else. I wanted plum jam. Of course, before now, I had eaten plum jam, maybe a handful of times over the years, and it was all store-bought and pretty "meh!" if you ask me.
Still, I just felt like plum jam.

I wanted to make a plum jam that would wow me. I envisioned a jam that was bright and full of flavour. At first, I thought of plum pie, and specifically a spiced plum pie with crumble topping from the pie shop in my neighborhood, Rustique. So I channeled that pie as I made my first batch of plum jam. I flavoured it simply, with just one stick of cinnamon, and I ended up making exactly what was in my mind: a plum jam that tastes like plum pie filling. It's amazing the flavour you can get out of just one cinnamon stick.

As I took all the photos for this post, I was feeling pretty satisfied, but as I worked, my mind wandered to another flavour combination: plum and Earl Grey tea. And though I was more than happy with the results of my first batch of jam, I couldn't let go the idea of combining plums with Earl Grey tea leaves. I wound up back at the Atwater market the very next day, returning to the same vendor to pick up more plums.

Turns out plum jam with Earl Grey might be even tastier than plum jam with cinnamon. Actually, I'm not totally sure.

I have the plum cinnamon jam on my morning buttered toast and I think "wow!"
Then I have the other on another slice of buttered toast and, at that point, I officially can't decide. Not to brag, but I'm pretty blown away by both. Conclusion: I think you should make both and see for yourself. And don't forget, if you are afraid of home canning, or if you don't have the proper tools, I have product reviews on the blog for a home canning starter kit that you can purchase from Amazon to get you going (tool kit on Amazon & starter kit from Bernardin on Amazon). Make sure to have a probe thermometer to take away the guessing of when the jam is cooked enough. I own a pink Thermapen which is very fast at registering temperatures and temperature changes, but the Thermoworks Dot can be used hands-free so would be more appropriate here.

The basic plum jam recipe is adapted from Camilla Wynne's book Preservation Society Home Preserves (available on Amazon ).

The Keys to Great Plum Jam

Here's the most important stuff I learned after making many batches of jam.

  • Start with super-ripe plums. The riper the better. I mean it. It's better to have plums that are on the verge of decaying than to have plums that are too firm. If you get your plums from your own tree, the best plums are the ones that hang like water balloons and fall off at the merest touch, or, better yet, the ones that have fallen to the ground already, if you can get to them before birds or bugs do. At the farmers market, see if your farmer has crates of overripe fruit under the tables or left over at the end of the day. You can usually get a discount on it.
  • Macerate overnight. Some recipes have you combine plums and sugar directly in the pot and start cooking right away. Eventually the plums break down and you can make jam—but the process is much easier if you macerate the plums the day before and let them rest in the fridge overnight, so that the sugar can draw out flavorful juices and dissolve. Your finished jam will cook faster and thus have a fresher, less-cooked flavor.
  • Keep the sugar level low. I use about a pound and a half of sugar per four pounds of plum flesh. For jams, this is pretty low on the sugar spectrum, but add much more and the jam gets cloying. (You'll need more sugar if your plums are anything less than perfectly ripe, but why would they be?) Because sugar contributes to proper jam texture, you need to add a secondary gelling agent that works even without sugar. I use Pomona's Universal Pectin, which uses calcium to activate gelling, precluding the need for tons of sugar.
  • Skip the lemon juice. Most plum jam recipes I've seen out there call for lemon juice for flavor balance and textural adjustment. But after trying jam with lemon juice and jam without, side by side, in various quantities, I've found that even a small amount distracts from the fresh plum flavor.
  • Use a wide pan to cook. The wider your pan, the more easily water will evaporate, and the more quickly your plum jam will reduce. Quick reduction leads to fresher flavor.
  • Keep it chunky. I cut my plums into quarters and let them break down naturally as they cook. This creates a nice chunky texture with juicy pieces of plum in the final mix. If you like a bit more jamminess to your preserves, you can run half of the plums through a food mill (we like the OXO Food Mill).

Easy Homemade Plum Jam

Jam sounds so hard, but it really isn’t. This plum jam will make pb&j sing. Or use it for crumb cake and get totally addicted.


  • 2 pounds Firm, Ripe Plums (red, Black Or Prune) Halved And Pitted
  • ½ cups Sugar
  • ½ cups Water
  • 1 stick Cinnamon (3 Inch) Or 1/2 T. Cinnamon


Coarsely chop plums and stir together with sugar, water and cinnamon in a 2-quart heavy saucepan. Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally (more often toward the end of cooking to prevent sticking), until thick and reduced to about 2 1/2 cups, 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Discard cinnamon stick and cool preserves. Transfer to an airtight container** and chill, covered. Preserves keep, chilled, 1 month. You can also follow through with the complete canning process.

**I used Ball pint-sized jars and it filled 1 and 1/4 jars, but they worked perfectly. Before adding the plums to the pot, I filled it with water, brought the water to a boil and sterilized the jars and lids in the water for 15 minutes. Transfer to a towel to dry, then discard the water and proceed with the plum jam ingredients.