It was supposed to be the last of the sunshine the other day so I took heed and picked some plums for jam. Actually, to tell the truth it was the cat that gave me the incentive I needed. She has a habit of running like a mad thing through the house, and on one such mad moment she knocked a whole bowl of very ripe plums over. Half of them were mouldy too so the mess was quite something. M harvests far too many at one time so they tend to sit around in bowls. Having only made one batch of jam this year I didn't want to miss the opportunity to make enough to see us through the year and our friends and family too.
So I balanced on a railway sleeper for extra height and picked the amount I thought I'd need, being careful not to annoy the wasps. (M managed to get stung three times last year!) There were a few left over which I managed to (pig out on) eat while making the jam.
I've never made any other type of jam but plums seem to be very straight forward. One kg of fruit to one kg of jam sugar. Remove the pips from the fruit and boil (which releases enough juice to boil in). Add the sugar, stirring constantly so as not to stick on the bottom. (It works perfectly fine in a large saucepan). Then do the 'wrinkle' test, which means drizzling a little on a cold saucer, leaving for thirty seconds and if it wrinkles when you push the surface, then it's ready to pour into jars.
Last year we gave a jar to our neighbours who enter their home grown produce in the local village fair. They were very impressed and said we would win if we enetered a jar. I know it's the glamour of winning and not the 50p prize money but I fear I wouldn't be able to take it seriously, unlike our neighbours (who have since moved down the road). The husband took it extremely seriously and invested a large portion of every day tending to his prized vegetables. I do miss being on the receiving end of all his 'rejects'; courgettes, carrots, tomatoes, rhubarb etc. We probably got the better end of the deal because all we had to offer was cooking apples, plums and plum jam! What's more he used to mow our side of the riverbank! Unfortunately our new neighbours don't. Boo. The riverbank is now sporting the 'wild flower meadow' look since our petrol strimmer stopped working.
I did wax disks and fabric lids last year but to be honest these are much easier when it comes to using the jam. Next on the list is the cooking apples. I never do much with them but this year I will try and do better. Maybe some gluten free apple pies and some apple sauce for Christmas.