Saturday, August 22, 2015

Six plum jelly day

So anyway, in seeming defiance of my complaints about the lack of fruits harvested from Rancho d'El Borak this year, the lovely and gracious Rogue, in addition to picking 30 gallons of pears this weekend, somehow acquired a short case of plums that included the following strains:

Apricot (USA)
Autumn Honey Pluot (USA)
Black Cat (MEX)
Black Jack Pluot (USA)
Dino Egg Pluot (USA)
John W Red (USA)*

None of them is a prunus americanas, but that's not going to keep us from recycling last year's plum jelly recipe.  Except instead of using one wild plum, we're going to use six domestic ones.

Blackberry jam to the front
The results were in some ways the opposite of last year. The most obvious difference was that using fat, ripe, domesticated plums resulted in lots of juice. So much so that I had to adjust the recipe's other ingredients up by 50% to keep everything in balance.  That's not a problem, it's just a factor.

The second difference was taste.  Last year's, I thought, was awesome, but no one joined me in that conclusion.  This year, TK and Molly, who don't normally eat jelly, ate a 1/4 pint that I had left over.  So the recipe is already a proven winner, vastly improved by the quality of the plums used therein.

We also did a bit of blackberry jam, from berries (and the recipe) left over from last year. You might remember that last year's effort resulted in a rather syrup-like jam, so this year I cut out a bit of sugar, added some pectin**, and cooked it longer. It jelled well. In fact, it jelled much more than jam ought to. To be honest, I might have bricked it. I won't know until I open a jar sometime next year. But it sure smelled good.

* No, I don't know which is which.
** the half box left over from increasing the plum jelly to a box and a half.


  1. Last weekend made a couple of gallons of wild plum jam. Nasty, bitter and sour. I ended up adding lots of sugar and even baking soda to try to cut the sour. I remember my mom used plums from the same grove, but I don't know what she did to make it edible.

  2. She might've let them ferment a bit first. That's what my great-grandma did with persimmons. Sometimes she'd go all the way and make persimmon beer.

  3. I did find that the original recipe used a lot of sugar, IIRC it was 7 1/2 cups sugar to 5 cups juice. So yeah, wilder plums take a lot more to sweeten them.

    Letting them ripen more might have helped a bit. I hadn't thought about fermenting them.

  4. Mine were fully ripe, either windfall, or ripe enough to drop into your hand at a touch. I did find a way to make them good to eat, I just add them to my (unsweetened) yogurt, and the mix is delicious. Just a bit too strong by itself.