Jamstravaganza

Nothing boils my blood more than food wastage.  Especially if it is nutritious and yummy.  So I take it upon myself to rectify food wastage where I can.  I have a scrumping gene you see.  My Dad has long been a believer of relieving a groaning apple tree overhanging an alleyway of a few apples.  He even has gone so far as to ring on peoples door bells and ask permission to pick the fruit from said overhanging branches.  People are usually very obliging and he doesn’t take more than he needs, and never actually intrudes by going into peoples gardens.  But the point I am trying to make is WHY DO PEOPLE HAVE FRUIT TREES AND NOT PICK THE FRUIT?!?!?!  More fool them I say!

Anyway I could rant about wasted fruit but I’m not going to.  Instead I am going to share my love of jamming, especially as the fruit cost not a penny.  This year we have been fortunate enough to get our hands on some nice juicy plums (ooo-errr).

Plum Jam 1

Usually I use Victoria Plums to make jam (from the neighbours tree), but alas this year the fruit has not been plentiful.  They never maintain their beautiful old plum tree so for the last few years the plums have not been so good.  But I was lucky enough to find out that the neighbours at my parents house, had a neglected plum tree.  And they really had to be picked now so that they wouldn’t rot on the tree.  They are a different kind of plum than the Viccy plums I’m used to.  But the jam tastes just as good.  I did a little google on varieties of plums and my goodness there are A LOT of different plums.  But I am no closer to finding out which variety of plum they are – is yummy a type?  Anyway I consulted the Queen of preserving, Marguerite Patton and am busy jamming all the plums we have.  So far I have got through 6lbs of plums barely denting the HUGE bowls I have.  The recipe I followed was as follows:

3lbs Plums
2lbs Jamming Sugar (has the pectin already in)

Plum Jam 2

The recipe calls for equal parts sugar to fruit and to add about 4 tbsp of water to the fruit.  Buuuuuuuuut I am not one to follow recipes religiously.  My mum is insulin resistant so shouldn’t really have too much sugar in her diet.  Therefore our whole family has had a low sugar diet for a number of years now.  As a result, we can really taste the sugar in our food, and sometimes foods can be WAY too sugary.  So I tend not to put the full amount of sugar in all of the cakes and bakes that I make.  I read somewhere (can’t remember for the life of me), that as long as the content of sugar in jam/preserves is at least 60% of the weight of the fruit, it will preserve OK and not go mouldy.  So long story short, this makes a lovely tangy jam that is just sweet enough to be eatable, but not so full of sugar it rots your teeth on impact.

The 4 tbsp of water is for fruit that is perhaps not very ripe, just to help in the fruit boil and break down before adding the sugar.  My plums were nice and juicy so I judged I didn’t need it.  This water can also be substituted with freshly squeezed lemon juice if you don’t have jamming sugar.  Lemons naturally have pectin in so help the jam set.

Plum Jam 3

3lbs of fruit and 2lbs of sugar makes roughly 3 and a bit jars of jam of roughly 500g each.  My 6lbs of fruit made 7 jars and a little extra to have on toast for brekkie for the next few weeks.  As you can see I used old jammy jars that I make my family keep and wash out.  Make do and mend!  Providing I have put enough sugar in (which I think I have), and I store the jars in a cool dark place the jam should last through winter all the way to the next jamming season.  I keep my jars in our under stairs cupboard and once opened keep it in the fridge, and touch wood haven’t had a problem yet with the jam spoiling.  In the past I have given a jar of jam to people for Christmas, so it’s a really cheap little gift for a loved one and the fact it is home made with love goes down well.  My great aunt (who is 95!) loves it.

Until next time, happy gardening!

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