A few weeks ago my mother came home from the farm with a sack full of plums from my grandparents plum tree. While I was excited to see all the fruit I was a bit overwhelmed with the thought of having to de-pit all of them and figuring out what to make.
So, I called in mom for an evening of dealing with all the plums and raspberries that we had just recently picked.
With the plums we decided to make a batch of freezer jam and then freeze the remaining juice, in quart freezer bags, to use in desserts in the future. We also decided to make a raspberry peach freezer jam with some of the fresh berries.
Surprisingly it was quite easy….thanks to Sure Jell (available at grocery stores in the baking aisle).
image via dvo.com
We followed the recipe that comes in the box and it was super easy! The part that took the longest (not bad) was getting the plum juice ready.
I snapped a few photos while we were making the plum juice. One word of advice….when it starts to boil don’t walk too far away or you will be cleaning up boiled over plum juice!
To start, you want to wash all of those little plums and make sure there are no stems and take out any ones that are mushy or bad.
Using the largest pot you have place your plums inside (I used my colander insert with my stock pot for ease of draining) and fill with water to the tops of the plums.
Now simply wait and let the water come to a boil (this is where you shouldn’t wander too far away!). You will start to smell the wonderful plum aroma!
So, you may be wondering how we avoided de-pitting all of those little guys. Well, we used the antique colander pictured above. It came in very handy…thanks grandma!
Once you can smell the plums, the water has turned a beautiful color and the fruit is mushy, you are ready to move on. Place a bowl in your sink with the colander positioned over it and pour the plum juice and fruit into the colander. This will catch the fruit, separating it from the juice.
Then you want to use the wood piece and smash the fruit getting as much juice out as possible. This is how we avoided de-pitting every last one by hand! The fruit is so mushy from boiling that it’s really easy. You will get some “meat” going through the colander along with additional juice. And that is how you make plum juice!
As mentioned earlier I decided to make one batch of plum freezer jam using the Sure Jell. FYI, freezer jam is really quick and easy — no special tools needed — to make unlike actual jelly. The catch is that you do have to store it in the freezer…can’t just sit in your pantry. We just went by the recipe in the box, but basically you just add a lot of sugar to a certain amount of plum juice. Then you heat the Sure Jell with water on the stove and pour into the sugary plum juice. This sets for a few minutes and then you pour the mixture into canning jars (I bought mine at Target). Once the jars are filled and lids are on you leave them on your counter for 24 hours (it will set up and not be liquidy) before storing in freezer.
(Note: should be Plum Jam….not Jelly….ooops!)
The raspberry peach jam that I made was easy as well….probably easier b/c we didn’t have to go through the whole juice process.
The next time you have some fresh fruit on hand (think porter peaches) be sure and pick up a package of Sure Jell and make some freezer jam. It makes plenty to share and whoever you share with will be very impressed!!