Plum, Orange and Lemon Jam

It was a lucky co-incidence that two highly piled metal bowls of big, dark plums were en route for the £1 table at my local fruit and veg stall when I called by. I bought them both, some oranges and lemons and rushed home to check I had enough sugar to make jam. An hour or so later, the jam was made, poured into oven-sterilized jam jars, the lids secured and left outside overnight to cool and set. Today I treated myself to toast and jam with a cuppa and couldn’t believe how superb the jam was; softly set, big chunks of fruit with a background hint of orange and lemon and not too sweet either. My fruit was very ripe, so I added 150g of preserving sugar to be on the safe side and I’m happy to say it might have saved the day.

Makes 6 x 220g jars

Prep: 15 min

Cook: 40 min

1.5kg ripe plums

300ml water

1 medium orange

1 lemon

900g white sugar

     Chill a small plate in the fridge or freezer. Using a small sharp knife, sit quietly somewhere with a large saucepan and a small bowl for the stones. Cut the flesh off the plum stones in small chunks into the saucepan; I did this directly without using a chopping board. The cut weight, incidentally, is 1.2kg flesh. Add 300ml water and microplane zest the orange and half the lemon over the top. Add the orange juice through a sieve and half the lemon juice. Bring slowly to simmer, stirring to disperse the zest and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes until the plums are nicely softened. Add the sugar, stirring with a long wooden spoon, continuing until it completely melts and there is no scratching sound at the bottom of the pan. Increase the heat and boil hard, stirring almost continuously as it rises up the pan then settles back into a steady boil. Boil, stirring regularly for about 10 minutes, maybe longer, until the liquid is visibly syrupy. Place a teaspoonful of jam on the cold plate. Push with the side of a finger, if it wrinkles and doesn’t run the jam is set. If not return for a further 5 minutes and repeat. Mine never seriously wrinkled, so don’t despair if yours doesn’t. Leave to settle while you place your jam jars in the oven, turning the temperature to 150C and leave for 5 minutes. Place the lids in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Use tongs to transfer the hot jars to a tray, carefully pour the jam into a jug and then into the jars. Fit the dried lids and leave somewhere cool for 24 hours to set. Ready to eat immediately.