I have a box of Sure-Jell pectin that gives directions for cooked jams and jellies, but none for "quick and easy freezer jams." Does that mean I can't make my plums the easy way?
I have about 12-15 lbs. of plums from the overhanging branches of my neighbor's tree, so I don't know what kind of plums they are and that's probably not important to know. They're about 1.5" in diameter; a dark red with small pits. They are easy to twist apart after making a slice completely around the fruit, but the pit is hard to remove from half containing it. They're very good eating but I have to spit out the sour skins.
My next step is to look online to see how to make jelly/jam because I don't have a clue!This message has been edited. Last edited by: CA Lori,
From the Sure Jell site - recipes using two different brands of their pectin:
!!! *$%(&^#@!_+ !!!
This stupid board still won't let me paste anything into a reply window!!!!
Lori, go to http://www.kraftbrands.com/surejell/products.aspx and type 'plum freezer jam' into the search bar. There are two recipes, one for MCP brand and one for Sure Jell.
Seems as if you have a sour variety of plum, not the big juicy sweet ones sold in the produce aisle for eating? If yours are small and sour, be sure to follow the recipe adaptation for "sour plums".This message has been edited. Last edited by: nettiejay,
If you want to make the cooked plum jelly...this is what I do with the wild ones that grow around here.
Fill a double boiler pot nearly full of the plums (or as many as I have), just barely cover with water.
Bring to a boil on the stove & then reduce heat to simmer. Keep an eye on the water level...don't let it get dry.
When this mess has cooked down, I smash it with a potato masher & then run it thru cheese cloth lined strainer into a "catch pan"...that's what I measure to make my jelly!
I don't peel them or pit them...that all stays in the cheese cloth & hits the trash.
I know a lot of folks swear by freezer jams but I just prefer the old cooked jams/jellies. They aren't really that hard if you have all your equipment ready when you start.
My jars all go into my oven at low temp until I'm ready to fill them....no burst jars that way from hot jelly meeting cold glass.
"The soil is the source of life, creativity, culture and real independence." David Ben-Gurion
Agreed. I was never happy with the freezer jams I tried. It usually spawned unpleasant sugar crystals and then turned runny. Plus, it takes up so much room in the freezer.
Love, love, love cooked damson plum jam! Haven't had a good source for damsons in years, though.
I got my old canner out of the attic (used to can quarts of peaches LONG time ago). The rack I have in my canner doesn't accommodate 8-oz jelly jars very well and definitely won't hold all 12 jars that I bought today for these plums. I could only fit 7 jars in the rack. The recipe I used called for 6 c pitted and chopped plums (I think I should have put them in my Cuisinart and given them a few pulses because I think my hand-chopped chunks are too big) and this recipe yielded 12 eight-oz jars.
I remember my mother making apple jelly when I was a kid. She used to put the cooked apples thru cheesecloth. I would guess by now, you could purchase some kind of cheesecloth bag for doing this job.
Not knowing what to do, I processed the first 7 jars for 10 minutes, removed them to the counter, and then put in the remaining 5 jars that I had filled and lidded at the same time I filled and lidded the first 7 jars. (Don't know if that time interruption will do any damage.) I'm processing these remaining 5 jars for 10 mins.
I've already heard a couple of "pops" from the processed jars that are sitting and cooling on my counter. I think that's a "good thing."
I guess I'll know tomorrow if all my efforts worked. Just curious, do they sell racks to hold these 8-oz jars? Or could I have removed the racks and put a dishrag on the bottom of the pot?
nettiejay, do Danson plums have a yellow pulp? My plums were a dark red, some had a bluish cloudy look on a portion of the surface, and the meat is a very dark red. I looked in my Sunset gardening book and am guessing these might be Santa Rosa plums. I should take it to the gardener guy at Lowe's--he knows everything about plants.This message has been edited. Last edited by: CA Lori,
Damson plums do have yellow pulp. They have a dark blue-purple skin with a silvery blush similar to an Italian prune plum, but they're much smaller than those and not good for eating out of hand. Too sour. The jam turns out very dark purple like Concord grape, and it has a sweet-tart tang like nothing else. It's my favorite flavor jam, but I haven't had any in years.
Is there a waiting period after making the jam? I can't remember where I saw something about the jam needs two weeks to set up. I wanted to maybe have it tomorrow a.m. on my toast.
Can you tell by looking at the lids that they have all sealed? I guess I need to press on them tomorrow to see if the center of the lid stays down when I push on it. If not, I understand that it needs to be refrigerated and eaten before the other jars that have sealed.
nettiejay, I can understand why you haven't had any Danson plum jam in years. It's a lot of work and standing . . . or maybe you don't have a tree anymore. I've got enough plums to make another batch, but if I don't like this jam, I don't want to expend the time, effort, and money. That's why I'm anxious to taste it now, so I can make the second batch before the remaining plums get too old.This message has been edited. Last edited by: CA Lori,
Oh, I love making jam. Just made two batches of peach last week. Brings me back to the sweet days when my mom and I stood in her hot (pre-AC) kitchen, working with the fruit we bought or picked ourselves that morning at the orchard.
The irony is... All of the work is in the preparation and cleanup. The actual cooking takes all of 2 minutes! LOL
As far as I know, only some particular types of jam take as long as two weeks to 'set'. Almost every kind I ever made was perfectly fine to eat right away. So, if I were you and didn't want to wait, I'd go ahead and open a jar for breakfast. (If I'm wrong, and the jam is still runny tomorrow, I apologize. It will still taste good, but you won't be able to tilt your toast past horizontal. )
As for your remaining fruit, you can go ahead and pit, chop, and measure the plums now, then freeze them in that state, ready to cook at a later date.
Yes, if you have any doubt whether a jar has sealed, do store it in the fridge and use it up first.
Hope it has turned out great for you!
Thanks, nettiejay, that's good to know. I've been wondering what to do with the remaining 4 lbs of plums cuz I'm not quite ready to do another batch.
Do you place all 12 jars in your canner at once? If so, what do you do about elevating them?
I'm going to open a jar tomorrow. I'll post my critique!
I concurr with nettie!
I always keep at least one jar out of what ever I'm making into jam/jelly so I can taste! Have to find out if it is good or not.
Those wild plums we have here are very small (about quarter size) and yellow inside/out. They make a pink jelly.
Forgot...I was going to add...I'm REALLY old fashioned. I don't process my jams/jellies, I still put parifin on the top & then a lid! Yes, a few spoil but not generally that many.This message has been edited. Last edited by: ga.karen,
"The soil is the source of life, creativity, culture and real independence." David Ben-Gurion
Karen, I'm glad to hear you report that you don't process your jam/jelly, because I don't either and was hesitant to say it publicly. However, I don't do the paraffin seal anymore. Now I use the "inversion" method, with better luck than I ever had with paraffin. I boil the jars and use 2-piece canning lids. The just-cooked jam goes in, lids and bands go on, jar gets inverted for a minute. The jar seals itself. The occasional jar that fails to seal gets used first. It's easy to tell when jam has spoiled, so I just make note of the appearance when I open a jar and don't worry one bit further about supposed danger.
It's important to note that the USDA now only recommends the water bath method, and no longer endorses the inversion method - which it had until perhaps as recently as 10 years ago.This message has been edited. Last edited by: nettiejay,
I am also a parafin girl. I have NEVER processed or frozen jam , nor do I use sure jell/certo. I use fruit and sugar.
I love my old fashioned jams.
Life is GOOD!!
We always used parafin, my grandmother and mom just scraped the mold off the jelly and ate it anyway they lived untill they were 97 and 87 don't think that was what killed them. I'm still here and I am 70. Probably wouldn't do that now.
My family made peach preserves they were really dark red and so good. They sugared the peaches and let them sit out for a day or two stiring every so often,than cooked them. Yummy on hot biscuits the fruit was in big slices. Brings back memories. Sue
I did have toast and my plum jelly this a.m. DH and I both thought it was very good. I chopped up the remaining 4 lbs. of plums and froze them (I think it took me a half hour to do that). I'll probably process it next week after I've had a chance to get some more jelly glasses. I've got a list of 16 people that I want to give jars to; so if my list doesn't grow, I can count on having 8 jars for myself.
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