Spiced plum jam recipe

  • Serves 4 standard jam jars, around 340g (12oz) each
  • 15 mins to prepare and 45 mins to cook
  • 40 calories / serving
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Preserving is a great way to use up Autumn's delicious plums so you can enjoy them long after the season ends.

To sterilise the jars and lids, first wash in hot, soapy water; rinse well. Preheat the oven to gas 1, 140°C, fan 120°C. Dry the jars in the oven for 10 minutes. Put the lids in boiling water for 10 minutes. Remove with tongs and leave to dry. 

Halve the plums and remove the stones using a small, sharp knife. Chop the flesh and tip into a preserving pan (or wide stainless steel pan) with 150ml (1/4pt) water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 20-30 minutes, until the fruit has softened. 

Add the sugar to the pan and stir over a low heat until all the sugar has dissolved (check by coating the back of the spoon with the mixture to see if there are any sugar granules remaining). 

Stir in the cinnamon and ginger, then turn up the heat and bring to a rolling boil. Boil the mixture rapidly for 10 minutes, without stirring, until the temperature reaches 105°C (220°F) on a sugar thermometer. 

To test for setting without a thermometer, spoon a little jam onto a chilled saucer. Leave for a few seconds, then push the jam with a metal spoon or finger. If it wrinkles, the jam is ready. If not, return to the boil for 5 minutes, then test again. 

Remove the jam from the heat and skim off any scum. Stir in the butter, then leave to stand for 15 minutes. Ladle the jam into the sterilised jars and seal tightly with the sterilised lids. 

Delicious tweaks

There are loads of easy ways to give this jam a flavour spin. Instead of cinnamon and ginger, try adding a pinch of chilli flakes during cooking for some subtle heat, or throw in a couple of dried bay leaves for a warming hint of spice (remove before pouring the jam into jars). If you prefer something sweeter, split open a vanilla pod, scrape out the seeds and add the lot – pod and all – to the cooking pot (discard the pod before putting the jam into jars). Or add a few pieces of chopped stem ginger, instead. 

Expert tips

Sterilising your jars is an essential step for ensuring the jam you fill them with stays fresh. Discard any jars that are damaged or cracked.

Fruits with tough skin, such as plums, cherries and pears, need to be simmered so they soften before the sugar is added. This prevents the sugar from hardening the fruit. Soft fruits, such as raspberries and strawberries, should be macerated in sugar first (overnight, if you've time) to strengthen them so they don't dissolve while cooking.

Pectin is a gelling agent that helps jam to set. It’s found naturally in fruit – lemons and quinces have a particularly high pectin content – but it’s often necessary to supplement it when making jam. Preserving and jam sugars contain added pectin to speed up the process

Dissolving the sugar fully before boiling results in a well- set jam that is not too sugary.

Leaving the jam to sit for 15 minutes after cooking allows the fruit to settle, preventing it from rising to the top in the jars.

Store your jam in a cool, dark place for up to three months.

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  • Ingredients

  • 925g (1lb 14oz) ripe plums, washed and dried
  • 900g (1lb 13oz) jam sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • knob of butter
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  • Energy 171kj 40kcal 2%
  • Fat 0.1g 0%
  • Saturates 0.1g 1%
  • Sugars 10.3g 11%
  • Salt 0g 0%

of the reference intake
Carbohydrate 10.3g Protein 0.1g Fibre 0.2g

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