There can be few fruit trees in an orchard or garden that earn their keep as
well as the plum. Most varieties are fairly trouble-free and very prolific when
it comes to fruit production. In fact, it can be hard to keep up with your plum
trees at the height of the season. If you leave the fruit on the tree for too
long, however, you may find you have a problem with wasps attracted to the
sticky sweet fruits, or even worse, a branch may snap off under the weight of
so much fruit.
So if you have a plum tree in the garden that has more plums on it than you know what to do with, read on for some great ideas for using them all up. All you need is a few jam jars and a bottle or two, along with your regular preserving equipment and you’re set for production.
Plum Jam Ideas
Our first and easiest suggestion for coping with a plum glut is to make some jam. Whilst you might think that plum jam is just like any other jam, it does have a tendency to go thick and lumpy, so do take care to follow the recipe carefully. Since we like to bring you some more unusual recipes from time to time, today’s plum jam suggestion has a secret ingredient - cocoa powder!
Plum & Chocolate Jam
- 1 kg ripe plums
- 1 kg granulated sugar
- 5 tablespoons good honey
- 4 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- Wash the plums, and remove the stalks and any leaves. Cut each plum in half and remove the stone. Chop each plum half into two.
- Add all of the ingredients to a large maslin pan and heat on a moderately high heat, stirring to prevent the fruit from sticking to the pan or burning.
- When the mixture has come to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for around 45 minutes, until the fruit is very soft.
- Using a jam thermometer, or the chilled plate method, test the jam to see if it has reached setting point (this is 105°C). If it has, carefully pour the jam into clean, sterilised glass jars using a jam funnel to avoid spillages. Allow to cool slightly, then seal your jam jars and label, before storing in a cool, dark place.
If plum and chocolate jam doesn’t inspire you, there are plenty of other ways that you can add a little something extra to a traditional plum jam recipe. Try adding the juice and zest of an orange for example, or a little vanilla extract. Plum and strawberry jam is another excellent combination and so is plum and cinnamon, for a warm, almost autumnal taste.
If you’ve made all the jam you can manage and you still have a lot of plums to use up, then how about preserving them? Standard 1lb jam jars won’t really cut it for this idea, so dig out some larger glass jars with two-part lids, such as Kilner jars or Mason jars, and follow our recipe for a sweet and decadent treat.
- 500ml red wine
- 150g caster sugar
- 10 plums
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 2 star anise
- 1 vanilla pod
- Wash the plums and cut in half to remove the stone.
- Add the red wine, caster sugar, cinnamon sticks, star anise and vanilla pod to a large pan and heat on a low setting until the sugar has dissolved, stirring gently. Once the sugar has dissolved, bring to the boil. Remove the spices from the liquid.
- Pack the sliced plums into large glass jars and then pour the wine mixture over the plums, ensuring all fruit is completely covered.
- Heat a pan of water and place the sealed jars into it, so that the water comes a little over half-way up the jars. Simmer very gently for about 20 minutes.
- Remove the jars from the pan of water and test that the lids have sealed correctly, then add labels and store once cooled.
Other plum ideas
We hope you have been inspired to try one or both of these great recipes, but if you still need more inspiration for your mountain of plums, we have a few more suggestions to hand. Plum wine is an easy option and can really lift the spirits once it’s ready to drink on those dark winter evenings that will be with us all too soon!
Plum syrup is another great idea and this tastes fabulous poured over ice cream, added to soda water, or even added to cocktails - try it with a nice gin, for example. And of course, you can always make a plum crumble, a plum cobbler or a fancy plum tart with them too.
We love hearing from our amazing customers and seeing all the incredible things you make!