Remember that friend I told you about earlier this week, Julia, the one with all of the delicious jam recipes?! Well a few years back she handed me a jar of this Spiced Plum Butter and I still remember it to this day. Finally, this year I made a batch myself.
Ironically, I was asking around for a couple weeks if anyone knew of any fruit trees in need of picking and couldn’t find any. I picked the last few apricots off my friend Joy’s tree but Everett consumed them all before I could even think about jam. Then I picked a sack full of my friend Maria’s plums and made this upside down cake. As I tell this story I’m even starting to getting a little embraced of my foraging desperation. I really just wanted to make one batch of jam, just one batch. Then finally, just as I thought I would not be making jam this year, my friend Christina called telling me that two huge fruit trees were ripe next to her apartment and she needed help picking fruit, and would I like to join her?!
Everett and I arrived to the scene and there were what seemed like endless amounts of fruit on the ground and filling every branch of the two trees, an apricot and a plum tree. We picked and picked until we had plenty to make lots and lots of jam. Everett helped a little, mostly by taking single bites out of every fruit he could get his hands on. Then we brought the fruit home and got to work.
The end result was this plum butter, a plum tarragon sauce, the maple vanilla apricot jam, and a rosemary apricot jam. Plus tired feet, a sticky floor, and a whole lot of dishes. Oh and somewhere between 40-50 jars of jam; we lost count.
The beautiful part to this story was that I would have been satisfied with one batch of jam but I ended up with an abundance of fruit more than I could have even imagined! It all kind of reminded me of this quote that I’ll leave you with today by CS Lewis.
“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory, and Other Addresses
Canning Tip #3
Use the same water bath (another canning term which just means a big pot of boiling water) to both sterilize your jars and to process your jars (air tight seal). Sterilize your jars while you make the jam, take the jars out of the boiling water to fill them up, then place them back into the same pot to process. Saves a few dishes and space. You can also sterilize your jars by running them through the dishwasher (learned this from Kelley).
- 2 lbs plums, halved and pitted
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp cardamom
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- Run the plums through your food processor. In a large sauce pan, combine plums, water, lemon juice, and spices. Working in batches, run the plum mixture through your food mill. Measure 3-4 cups plum purée. Return to the sauce pan and stir in the sugar. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Reduce heat and boil gently until mixture thickens and holds its shape on a spoon. Prepare your canning supplies; sterilize the canning jars by running them in almost boiling water for several minutes, and boil a few cups of water in a small saucepan for the lids. Ladle hot butter into hot jars, leaving 1/4″headspace. Wipe rim and center lids on jars, and then screw down bands just until resistance is met. Place jars in canner, ensuring they are covered with water, and boil for 10 minutes. Remove canner lid and wait 5 more minutes before removing jars.
Make sure and enter our big giveaway, there’s only two days left!
Plus you must check out Annalise’s guide to packaging preserves as gifts.
And Kelley is sharing a little more about her adventures in canning today.