Plum Crazy

It all began in mid August. By that, I mean both the deluge of plums and my new adventure.

As for the plums, I should have been prepared. They were heavy on the tree and had been growing all spring. I had gotten used to them hanging around.

But in mid August, there they were, in the path.

Three pickings later, we had taken no less than 50 pounds of plums from our tree. I have no idea what variety they are -- the tree was here when we bought the house -- but these plums are good eating any way you do it. So that's what we did.

We munched on them, canned and jammed them, put them in cakes, made chutney, and gave dozens away. The squirrels got a few too. You could say we were plum crazy.

Of all of it, I think my favorite was the jam. It best captured the sweet syrupy flavor of the plums, and the color is amazing because of the skins. On the off chance that next year brings you a plum deluge, here's my recipe.

Plum Jam
adapted from Alice Waters' Wild Plum Jam from
Chez Panisse Fruit

5 generous cups plums, pitted and halved
3 cups organic cane sugar

Wash and cut the plums in half to remove the pit. Cut any extra large plums in quarters, otherwise, halves are fine.

In a large heavy-bottomed or enameled cast iron pot, stir the fruit and sugar together and let it stand for about 20 minutes.

Bring the pot of fruit to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally to keep the fruit from sticking. (If it seems to stick easily, turn the heat down a bit.) Skim the foam off the top with a big spoon as it rises during the first few minutes of boiling.

When the foaming begins to subside, the jam will begin to thicken. Monitor the consistency by testing small spoonfuls of jam. I place a smear of jam on a small plate and place it in the freezer for a couple minutes to cool. Then, I tip the plate once it has cooled to see how runny it is. Keep boiling it and testing the jam until it reaches a consistency that you like. It often takes quite a while. As it boils and thickens, the jam will also darken and develop amazing color. Don't forget to stir occasionally to be sure it doesn't stick.

When it reaches a consistency you like, remove it from the heat and ladle the hot jam carefully into prepared jars, allowing about 1/4 inch headroom. Seal with lids and rings, and process in a water bath.

Makes about five eight-ounce jars.

As for my new adventure, it feels plum crazy in a whole different way. With with the goal of seeing what life brings, an eye toward being frugal, and a very supportive spouse, I have decided to take a break from earning a paycheck after nearly 25 years of working life. This is my new adventure -- it is a journey with an unknown distance. And this blog is a chronicle of what I learn and discover.


Sarah said…
A terrific first post Amy; I especially like the photos. I think the jam looks fantastic. In the end, what did you think of the brown sugar jam you made?
Jill said…
like the name and the title photo...i knew this was something you would be naturally good at. you should encourage people to read your blog by sending out samples of the recipes you post :)
beeker said…
Very cool! Photos are awesome. I can personally vouch for the high quality of the jam. It has eatability.

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