This easy plum jam has a wonderfully sweet and fruity flavor, with a touch of warm spice. It's lower on sugar but that lets the fruit flavor shine - no wonder it quickly became a family favorite.
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In recent years, I have started to make jams at home a bit more often and even more so within the last year or two. The flavors in homemade are always that bit better, you can play around with the ingredients, and I in particular like to make lower sugar jams as I find many store-bought way too sweet for most uses.
My kids are always happy when I make some jam or curd, too, and will happily help use it up. And some toast with jam does make for a super easy snack or breakfast so it has some benefits that way.
There are some flavors which one child will like a lot and the other less so. Then others everyone agrees on, like strawberry raspberry jam. This plum version was another that was a hit with everyone.
What kind of plums are best?
You could use a variety of different plums for this, though I would say you want ones that are relatively sweet and juicy. Here I used red plums mainly as the color is so vibrant and they have a good flavor. Black plums and some other sweeter varieties (yellow Mirabelle, for example) would also be good or you could use a mix.
Use ripe, gently soft plums for this for the best flavor and sweetness. A couple that are a bit overripe are fine, but I'd suggest not all as it can impact the flavor.
Lower sugar jam
As with most jams I tend to make, as I mention, this jam is lower in sugar compared to store-bought or classic recipes. When making lower sugar jams you need a larger amount of fruit for an equivalent yield, but the gain is you really taste the fruit rather than just sweetness plus it's healthier too.
True, we are talking relatively as it still has some sugar, but that is part of what a jam is. Since the sugar is the jam's preservative, I prefer to make a smaller batch for lower sugar jams in particular. This means I don't need to worry about possibly wasting some.
The one other (possible) downside of lower sugar is that it doesn't set as firm. This is definitely a soft set jam which works for us, but just be aware - this isn't going to turn out jelly-like.
A possible extra step with plums
One thing worth mentioning specific to this jam is the skins. Unlike other stone fruits like plums and peaches, plum skin is quite thin and well stuck on to the flesh. This means it doesn't come off quite so easily without being cooked.
However, you actually want the skins on when you start cooking as some of the flavor, and in some varieties the color, is in the skin. The debate is whether you leave it in the jam or not. I always leave them on in stewed plums, but jam is a bit different.
I have tried this jam both ways and both work. So, if you want to leave them in, go ahead. However, I have to say I prefer this without the skins. Yes, straining the jam is an extra step, but the result is so wonderfully smooth.
Even with straining, making this plum jam is still easy and the result is wonderfully delicious. The little bit of warm spice really compliments the rich plum flavor. It's bright, fruity and just begging to be spread on toast, fruit bread or whatever you choose. So grab some plums and enjoy.
Try these other jams and spreads:
- Lemon curd
- Mango jam
- Strawberry raspberry jam
- Passion fruit curd
- Apricot jam
- Pear jam
- Plus get more jams and other condiment recipes in the archives.
- 9 oz plums (9oz/255g is de-stoned weight - it's around 9 ½oz/270g with stones)
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 pinch cinnamon
- 1 pinch ground cloves
- 1 pinch ground ginger
- Halve the plums and remove the stones then roughly dice the plums. If you don't plan to strain the jam, make the pieces relatively small so any pieces of skin are small.
- Put the plum pieces, sugar and lemon juice in a small-medium saucepan along with the cinnamon, cloves and ginger. Place over a medium heat and stir to dissolve the sugar.
- Bring the jam to a simmer, reduce the heat a little and simmer for approximately 5-10 minutes. Mash the plums as they soften to break them up more.
- Remove the pan from the heat, allow to cool a minute or two then skim off any foam. Transfer to your prepared clean jar(s) and put lid on while still hot. Leave to cool.
- If you choose to strain the jam to remove the skins, do so once the fruit is well broken up then return the mixture to the pan and heat further until it thickens. Being lower sugar, it may not fully set and work in the 'wrinkle test' (when you put a small amount on a plate you have chilled ahead of time and as it cools, the jam wrinkles on top when you nudge it). However, it will noticeably thicken eg when you stir a spoon/spatula through, it will take a bit longer to close in behind.
- Transfer the jam to a clean (ideally sterile) jar and cover. Allow to cool.
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