Growing up I’d eat plums, but I wasn’t the biggest fan of them. The skin was always a bit bitter, the insides were a bit sour and they had a strange film on them (this was the 1980s before organic produce was in every grocery store). As I got older and tasted plum wine for the first time, I decided to give plums another try.
Every June, our plum trees burst with plums. Well, I should back up. The first year we were in our home, we picked about 10 pounds of plums from one tree alone (as in, it was the only tree that produced fruit). Our second tree produced 3 plums—not 3 pounds of plums; just 3 plums. We gave both trees a massive pruning at the end of the season and were rewarded with about 30 pounds of plums last year. This year, we’ve picked a whopping 64 pounds of plums and there’s still more on the tree!
Last year, we made plum wine and plum cider, as well as plum butter. This year, I made plum jam and we’re making plum wine. Since it was going to be a few days until we were going to make the plum wine, I took the plums that were very ripe or overripe and turned them into a plum jam.
I used this jam recipe from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving, which uses Granny Smith apples and lemon in lieu of packaged pectin. I’ve found using Granny Smiths is a lot more forgiving than using packaged pectin, as you don’t have to keep your eyes on it all the time while stirring. You still have to stir with apples, but if you have to turn the stove down and deal with a crying baby or tend to a toddler, it’s not a big deal.