Much has been said and written about the pleasure of eating homemade plum jams. While people have enjoyed fresh or dried plums, artisan makers marvel at the magical transformation of plums as they are cooked into a jam. Plum jams are best cooked in the simplest and most rustic ways. Nothing else is needed to accentuate its tart flavors. While the old fashion techniques of cooking plums have always been the best, the evolution of tastes, flavors, and cuisines have elevated the humble plum jam. People have experimented with flavors adding other components such as chilies spices, herbs, and even alcohol. What a great way to celebrate the beauty and lusciousness of plum jam.
Plum Jam Trivia
- Plums are significant in Chinese culture as they symbolize perseverance, hope, and beauty. As they bloom and grow in-between seasons, Chinese people believe plums harbor the blessings of a new beginning and the warmth of experiencing something new.
- While plums are often associated with abundance, some cultures see the plum as a symbol of earthly pleasures and material indulgence.
Plum Jam Buying Guide
Commercially manufactured plums jams are available in supermarkets, groceries, and convenience stores. DO check the label when purchasing commercially made plum jams as they contain a lot of chemical additives, preservatives, flavorings, and even artificial sugar that can harm your health and in some cases, trigger allergies which can lead to a health emergency.
Also, check the manufactured date on the bottles. It’s best to buy jams that haven’t been made for too long since the flavors and quality could change the longer the jam is stored in the containers.
Plum Jam Production & Farming in Texas
Japanese Plums (Prunus salicina) and European Plums (Prunus domestica) can be grown in Texas. However, horticulturists would suggest that it’s better to plant Japanese plums in Texas because it’s a more durable fruit tree. Japanese plum trees are said to be self-fruitful and can grow fruits by themselves once planted. Moreover, the yield will be increased once it is cross-pollinated with another plum variety.
Preservatives and Chemicals
People are aware of the stark differences among the ingredients used in commercial and artisan food preparation. Commercially made pectin products ensure that the Plum jam will have a gelatinous consistency and would prevent solidification. However, those who would purchase Plum jams from the supermarkets or make Plum jams using artificial pectin must watch out for consumers who have pectin allergies. Once ingested, pectin can trigger allergic reactions which can lead to hives, asthma, allergic rhinitis, and in worst cases, anaphylaxis.
Hot canning method remains to be the safest method of preserving jams, jellies, and preserves. When canning jars, it’s best to use a new lid to prevent mold and bacterial growth. You can also sterilize old lids for a couple of minutes, wipe and air dry them for economic purposes. They key point here is that the jars should be free from cracks or chipped areas. The metal ring bands should not be deformed or have any traces of rust. It should fight tightly and not be bent to prevent air pockets from contaminating the Plum jam.
Enjoying Plum Jam
The unique flavors and textures of plum jams are great in both sweet and savory recipes. For desserts, some people like to add ginger to their plums, making a plum-ginger jam aside from the regular plum jam. The famous Eastern European dessert called Szilvás Gombóc or Hungarian plum dumplings are made by making some dumpling dough and adding a dollop of plum jam at the center. The dumplings are then boiled and drained once cooked. Melted butter and toasted bread crumbs are prepared in a dry pan. Once toasted and browned, they are then used to coat the dumplings.
As a homage to Texas barbecue, we want to show how plum jams can be added to your regular barbecue parties. Prepare an adequate amount of plum jam, mix a dash of cinnamon powder and a couple of tablespoons of ready-made barbecue sauce. Add some chopped onions and garlic, a dash of rice wine vinegar, and a tablespoon of sugar. You can always adjust the sweetness and tanginess of the barbecue plum sauce to suit your taste.
Properly storing jams is essential to preserve their quality and lengthen their shelf-life. First, use properly sterilized jars when storing jam. Check the jars for any cracks or chipped areas. Also, check the sealer for any mold growth or rust. If there are some of these anomalies, immediately discard the glass jars as they’re no longer safe for food storage. Once they are ready for heating, boil them for a couple of minutes then take them out to cool. Ensure they are cleaned, wiped, and heated properly to kill any bacteria or pathogens.
Store homemade plum jams in a cool, dry place away from the direct glare of sunlight. Once opened, refrigerate the jams right away. Avoid keeping it at room temperature for one to three hours to prevent mold and bacterial contamination.
3 lbs plums, halved, pitted and quartered
3 cups of sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup lemon juice
- Wash and cut the plums into chunks, removing the pits.
- Combine the plums, water, lemon juice, and sugar in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil to dissolve the sugar, stirring continuously.
- Continue to stir for 15-20 minutes, or until the gelling point has been reached.
- Remove from the heat and ladle into glass mason jars. Proceed with the boiling water canning method, if desired. If not, store the plum jam in the refrigerator.