Thursday, September 04, 2008


More time lately has been spent buried in piles of books than in knitting, but I wanted to pop in and say hello. I'm still putting a few rows in here and there on my sweaters and socks and other things, but nothing is getting finished very quickly unless it's a book. And even with books, I've started far more than I've finished in the last few weeks. Some reading has been for pleasure, some has been academic. I'm not prepared to write about any of it today, I'm just here to say hi and share some jam.

We have an Italian plum tree in our yard and millions of blackberries taking over our neighborhood. I happened to see the little boxes of fruit pectin on the store shelf when I was looking for sugar not long ago, and decided I needed to try making jam. All the recipes for freezer jam I found online used so much sugar I couldn't bring myself to try them. We usually buy fruit spreads with no sweeteners added, and I wanted to make something similar. So I bought the Ball brand No Sugar Needed pectin and decided to experiment. The recipes included in the box didn't have directions for plums or blackberries, so I decided to treat the blackberries like raspberries and the plums like peaches. To combine the two I had to sort of combine the recipes. It all worked out though, so I'll share what I did.

Blackberry Plum Freezer Jam

The following amounts made seven half-pint jars of freezer jam. The blackberries are so small and sour this year that I didn't end up with sugarless jam, but my recipe uses significantly less sugar than anything I found online (and no artificial sweeteners).

  • 3 cups prepared fruit - I used half blackberries and half plums, approximately
  • 1 3/4 cups unsweetened fruit juice - I used pomegranate cherry because Jamie drank all the apple juice and that's what was in the freezer
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice (because the box recipes said 1 Tbsp for peaches and none for raspberries, so I went with half)
  • 2 cups sugar, because my fruit was sour. With the no sugar needed pectin, you can choose 0 to 3 cups. Most traditional recipes use a 2:1 ratio of sugar to fruit; newer ones use 1:1. I wanted even less than that.
Prepare your fruit. I chopped the plums into fine pieces and squished them slightly with a potato masher to bring out the juice (Italian plums are dry). In a separate bowl, I mashed the blackberries and then stirred everything together. Dissolve the pectin in the fruit and lemon juices, then bring the mixture to a boil over medium high heat, stirring frequently. When it comes to a full rolling boil, boil for one minute stirring constantly, then remove from heat. Immediately stir in the prepared fruit. Sprinkle in the sugar and stir to dissolve. Ladle into prepared jars, and put in the refrigerator to set. Once set, transfer to the freezer (within 24 hours). My jam set almost immediately, so the jars went into the freezer the same night - except for one, to eat right away.

It's hard to see the beautiful, clear purple in this photo. It was getting dark, but I wanted a picture before they went into the freezer. I tried the warm jam right away, and it's good! Even my husband, who has zero love for plums, thought it was "fine". Now I'm wondering what to do with the rest of the plums. And I'm also wondering whether apple butter can be frozen like jam. Anyone know?


pigbook1 said...

YUMMMMM. I never use quite the amount of sugar that it calls for because i think it is overkill. I love homemade jam, but have never tried plum, maybe i will try that next year

Sam said...

looks yummy! I've never tried plum jam, just lots of berry. I'm the only one in my family who eats jam so usually it's not worth the effort.

My mom always makes apple butter and cans it. It will keep for a year that way.

marycatharine said...

Mmmm, homemade jam in the middle of the winter is wonderful. Whenever you open a jar a little bit of summer will pop out.

Lenedyret said...

I love plums and even if the colors didn't show so well my imagination helpt you. The jam looks good enough to eat, so I might try this here if I can find all the ingredients in our norwegian stores :)

Have a lovely autum :)