Plums always remind me of my dad. He would eat them by bucketful in summer: if I think of him in summertime, I see a plum in his hand, one missing a great big Dad-sized bite.
I sometimes wonder what he would think of this wacky preserving-canning creature I’ve become. He died many years ago, when I was just out of college and still finding my way in the world. I started cooking as a teenager, so I’m sure I cooked for him at least a few times, back then I would have considered a stir-fry ambitious. Homemade jam? Pickles? Mustard? I don’t think it occurred to me that you could make those things, let alone that you should.
But: back to plums. Because they always remind me of my dad, I can’t seem to resist buying them when I see them at the farmer’s market. I always pick up a pound or two, often without any big plan: I just like to have a bowl on the counter. They make me smile. And while I’m not quite the fresh plum fanatic my dad was (I’m more of a nectarine girl, myself; it’s a texture thing) I do love the flavor; some of my favorite recipes incorporate plums.
This one is no exception. Glorious tart red and deep, deep purple Santa Rosa plums, just over a cup of sugar, and a nice fat piece of preserved lemon, rind, pulp and brine included. The lemon lends it’s funky, salty, fermented flavor to the tart-sweet plums and it’s all married together by just enough sugar to produce a loose set. It’s brilliant over a chèvre-smeared cracker and I can hardly wait to use it on post-Thanksgiving turkey sandwiches. My Dad, I suspect, would still prefer a fresh plum, but his little girl? Give her plum & preserved lemon every time.
- 3 lbs plums, pitted and quartered (I used 2 ½ lbs tart red plums and ½ lb Santa Rosa plums)
- 1 ¼ cup (10 oz) sugar (organic evaporated cane juice)
- ¼ cup lemon juice, fresh or bottled
- ⅓ of a preserved lemon, with pulp, finely chopped + 1 tsp lemon brine
- In a medium stockpot, combine plums, sugar, lemon juice & preserved lemon with brine. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to low, cover and simer 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to macerate at least 4 hours or refrigerated, overnight.
- Prepare canner, jars and lids.
- Taste the fruit juice and make any adjustments in sugar or lemon. Transfer fruit to a large, wide preserving pot. Bring to a boil over low heat and continue to boil, stirring only to prevent sticking, until you reach a loose set, about 15 minutes. I cooked this jam as little as possible so as to keep the fresh fruit + lemon flavor. Ladle hot jam into hot jars to ¼-inch headspace, wipe rims, affix lids and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
Yields about 5 ½ cups.
- If you have preserved Meyer lemons, I think those would be brilliant, adding a floral dimension to an already complex preserve. You may, however, want to add an extra tablespoon or two of regular lemon juice, to balance the sweetness of the Meyers.
- I like this preserve loose and fresh-tasting: of course, if you prefer a sweeter jam, you can add more sugar and will be able to achieve a firmer set without over-cooking the jam.
Canned, store in a cool dark spot for up to 1 year.
Summer into early Fall.
Gorgeous photos! I love your chopping board and knife. I love how your recipe only has 4 ingredients.
Your dad would have loved this, not because he loved plums but more so because you made it. Beautiful post and lovely recipe. I don’t know your dad and I don’t know you but I have a little twinge in my heart for the two of you.
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Plums remind me of my dad too – we’ve been plum picking together a few times. I’ll certainly miss doing that. Gorgeous recipe!
This looks lovely! I made a batch of plum jam a few weeks ago, but this one tops it! Can’t wait to try it out next time!
I love this idea, Kaela! This sounds like something I could easily become addicted to.
That looks delicious and yummy, I must try this. I miss my Dad as well
I just made this last night ( without the preserved lemon…so I guess I missed the pont!). Imy first attempt at any kind of jam so I was impressed with myself. Both my two year old and one year old gobbled it up on top of their Greek yogurt, so i know it wont last long!
I decided to turn this batch into freezer jam, but if I make another batch is it OK to go ahead and process it without the the preserved lemon?
Plums are safely acidic to can on their own, and you’ve got the added boost of regular lemon juice, so these are plenty safe to can without preserved lemon. And a plain ole plum jam is always nice too: but I gotta tell you, it’s worth checking out preserved lemons! Maybe a project for this winter when they come back into season. 🙂
Yum! Gotta try it!
And do you have a recipe for preserved lemons for us to try this winter?
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“I’m more of a nectarine girl, myself; it’s a texture thing” haha! 😀
It looks so yummy! Definitely going to try it if I find good plums in stores, we don’t exactly have the best fruit here in Iceland sadly. 🙂
I inherently think of plums as a savory-sweet thing. I blame the whole plum sauce trend in Chinese (or Americanized-Chinese) food. This idea, adding the funky salty lemony flavor to plums sounds BRILLIANT. I think it’s (finally) time to make some preserved lemons.
Oh my goodness! You had me at “plums” but I’m a total sucker for preserved lemons, too. This looks simply fantastic!
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