2. Preserving an Autumn Harvest: Victoria Plum Jam

One Saturday last October, a whole two kilograms of Victoria Plums were plonked into the reduced section of greengrocers I worked in. Now, anyone who’s worked in a greengrocers will know how people go nuts for what is considered the Chanel of plums. Personally, I wasn’t overly excited about the prospect of the Victoria Plum and on consumption, they didn’t really ignite my tastebuds like the gorgeous French Greengages of August. Overhyped, overpriced.

However, I wasn’t going to pass on a large quantity of very cheap plums and set to thinking that I’d quite like to create a hamper of gifts, instead of just presenting everyone with pickled onions for Christmas. Feels a bit like coal in the bottom of your stocking, unless you really like pickled onions.

As I mentioned in my previous preserving post, I had made jam before, blackberry jam. However, I left this a little too long and the consistency was very sticky and difficult to spread, and hoped my efforts with plums would be much better. Plums are very high in pectin, however, as the fruit ripens the pectin breaks down, so I was a little unsure how over-ripe these plums were and thus, how well the jam would set.

Using this recipe from Allrecipes, I set to work. I had a jam thermometer and I used the jam/jelly cold plate test. This informal test used by preservers just involves putting a splodge of your substance on the cold plate and if you run your finger through it, if it’s at setting point, it will leave a trail through the splodge. However, what I’ve found with the cold plate test is that often it takes a while to cool down, so while I’m impatiently pushing my finger through it and the jam seeming as if it is not at setting point, 15 minutes later it sets and then my jam is 15 minutes overcooked.

Despite my finished product being quite sticky, it almost caramelised, so you’re left with lovely sweet toffee notes on top of the plum, which makes a rather nice preserve. I am definitely proposing that Victoria Plums are super in jam, despite not living up to their name as fruit, as jam they did an excellent job. I am still eager to get a jam at the right consistency, but feel I achieved this with some of my jelly making, but that’s to come!

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4 responses to “2. Preserving an Autumn Harvest: Victoria Plum Jam

  1. Hey, I really like pickled onions! But I like jam too and your Victoria plum jam sounds fab. Continuing my theme of coffee-based suggestions, how about coffee-cherry jam? I had some that Lisa of Dear Green Coffee brought back from Guatamala, but I’m not sure how you’d get coffee cherries in the UK.

    Brian.

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