This is Christopher’s foolproof jam. It is also my favourite jam recipe for its intense colour and unique flavours. This recipe is particularly perfect for beginners because it will set without fail.
Removing the stones is the most difficult part of the job. I stew the fruit first, and then with clean hands rummage through the fruit to find and remove the stones. Any stones left behind will rise to the surface and can be scooped out at the jam-making stage. But always put a note on the label, ‘watch out for stones’, as you can never be sure you’ve removed them all.
- 1kg ripe plums (Blaisdons) or damsons
- 500g white sugar
- 500mls water
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Wash the plums and remove any stalks or mouldy fruits.
- Place fruit in a large saucepan and add the water. Bring to the boil and simmer until fruit is cooked (about 10 minutes). Allow to cool.
- With clean hands get as many of the stones out as you can.
- Add the sugar and lemon juice. Stir until all sugar is dissolved.
- Return saucepan to a low heat and continue stirring until the mixture appears thinner and hotter. Turn up heat, still stirring occasionally to avoid sticking, and bring to the boil. Check heat so the fruit mixture boils steadily but doesn’t boil over.
- Skim off any scum and floating stones.
- Setting point will be reached in 30-45 minutes, depending on the heat and the size of the saucepan. Be patient. Test for setting by placing a half-teaspoon of the jam on a white plate that has been chilled in the fridge. After a minute to cool, when you push a finger through the dollop of jam, it will wrinkle in front of your sliding finger. Remove saucepan from heat immediately.
- Allow 10 minutes to settle. Ladle into pre-heated jars (I pop mine in the oven for 10 minutes, which sterilizes them as well). Put lids or wax and cellophane covers on immediately.
- Label jam, including the stone warning… please!
- Cool and enjoy.
Recipe supplied by Christopher Robbins, herbalist and wild food forager.