Apologies on the lack of postings lately. In addition to work being nuts, I broke my finger, so typing & cooking have been rather difficult. I’m just now getting back in to the swing of things.
When I was a kid, I hated jam. The thought of a peanut butter AND jelly sandwich made me run the other way. Just peanut butter, thank you. I believe I was teased mercilessly for this. And rightfully so.
At some point in time I decided to give jam a chance, and I admit to being wrong all those years. Good jam is, well, good. It’s perfect for a PB&J, on toast or an english muffin, but jam also works as an ice cream topper, in cocktails, and various other things.
I started canning a few years ago, and while I don’t do it that often, it’s always a treat when I do. Small batch canning really appealed to me, as it’s just two of us and we really don’t need that much. Ultra small batch canning is even more appealing, as I can use tiny jars, meaning that once they are opened I will use them up quickly and not waste them.
In order to can, you do need a few items, in addition to the jars & lids + rings. I bought a canning kit (from where, I cannot tell you (mainly because I don’t remember)), but this one on Amazon contains all the pieces I use. Canning requires a minimal investment upfront, and then you’re good to go. If you give away jars to friends + family you may need to occasionally replenish your stock, unless you are lucky enough to have friends who will also trade back with you. Most stores, including grocery stores & Target, sell canning items now.
For this particular recipe, I had picked up some plums for snacking at the grocery store. They were rather bland, and I ended up forgetting about them on the counter for a while. After staring at them one morning, I decided to turn them in to jam. At least that way they’d get used before they started to rot. After doing some googling, I settled on a Plum Cardamom jam from the ever awesome Food in Jars. Speaking of Food in Jars, if you want to learn how to can, I highly recommend her Canning 101 posts – it’s where I learned to can.
As far as jam recipes go, this one was pretty easy. I’m putting it at Medium difficulty, though, as it does take time and you have to know what you are doing. Take care to sanitize everything you will use. You’ll thank me later.
I really can’t stress enough how easy it is to make jam, and to can. If you are at all intimidated, I urge you to give it a shot. If you are worried about botulism, you can always put the jars straight in the fridge and use them ASAP.
Plum Cardamom Jam
Adapted from Food in Jars
- 12oz of plums, whole
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar*
- 1/4 tsp cardamom**
- 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 small canning jars (4oz jars)
- Fresh rims and lids for said jars
- Canning jar grip (to remove jars from the water bath)
- Tall pot for water bath
- Wide pan
- Sanitize the jars & lids
- Rinse the plums, and cut in half
- Remove the pits and slice in to small half moons
- Place the sliced plums in to the pan and add sugar. Stir to coat
- Cover the pan and let the plums macerate for an hour. After an hour they will be juicy and most of the sugar will have dissolved
- Add in the cardamom and the lemon juice, and turn on the heat
- Cook at a boil for 30-40 minutes, stirring frequently
- While it’s cooking, prepare a water bath and two small canning jars
- You’ll know when the jam is set because it will turn, well, jammy. It will be difficult to stir, and will slowly drip off the back of the spoon
- Remove from heat and funnel in to the jars
- Place the jars in the water bath, bring back to a boil, and boil for 10 minutes
- Remove the jars from the water bath and place on to a tea towel on the counter to cool
- You’ll hear the lids pop and won’t be able to remove the lids easily. If that doesn’t happen, put the jars in the fridge and use them immediately (no shelf storage in that case, lest botulism become part of your life)
- *If you want sweeter jam, increase the sugar by a tablespoon or two. I thought this was going to be sweeter than it was, but it’s fairily tart.
- **Next time, I’ll increase the cardamom to 1/2tsp, as I couldn’t really taste it.
- If cardamom isn’t your thing, try adding cinnamon or vanilla
- As I mentioned above, sanitize everything. I can’t stress this enough. At best any bacteria or mold will mess up your jam. At worst, you could get really sick.