|10 jars for the brides, and one for me.|
So at the market on Saturday, I got two big bags of damson plums. I've never had a damson plum, and didn't think to try one when I was cooking yesterday. I understand they are tart brightly flavored little things, with deep blue skin and gorgeous golden flesh. When they are cooked, they turn the most magnificent magenta color. I honestly don't know what color to compare it to, but it is stunning.
There are no good damson plum jam recipes online, as far as I can tell. But I turned to my trusty (and over-due at the library) copy of Catherine Plagemann's Fine Preserving, which is annotated by M.F.K. Fisher. Her recipe is off-hand in its simplicity: thrown in the ingredients; simmer; scoop out the pits, can when ready. In fact, I found it most unhelpful in its simplicity, and wanted to share with you a few tips. Here's my own annotated recipe:
Damson Plum Jam
1 quart damson plums, stemmed and washing, but still whole
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup water
Bring all ingredients to a boil, mashing the plums with a potato masher (my favorite jamming tool!).
Boil till jelly state, continuing to stir and scrape the bottom of the pan. You can tell this by several tests, but I usually eyeball it. When you lift you spoon, if they jam comes off it in sheets, rather than individual drops or streams, then it is ready. I tried to take a picture of this, but, failed. The picture to your left is of not-yet-jelly stage, badly out of focus.
Pour into hot sterilized jars, sealing them or covering with paraffin according to your preference. This recipe makes about five 4oz. jars. I successfully doubled the recipe to make to 11 4 oz jars.