Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Himalayan Plum Jam | Plum Jam




It is a bright morning. The air is crisp and cool. The orchards are full of women men and children who have gathered to pluck the plums. Their laughter and animated conversations pervade. The trees are full of plums that are beginning to ripen. This is the best time for picking the fruit. The fruit has to be firm to touch or else it will not survive the transit.


Men climb the fragile branches nimbly. Their agility in climbing the trees is amazing. Perhaps they have been doing so since childhood and have become dexterous in the art. They pluck the fruits and throw down into the baskets placed under the trees.


 Once the baskets are full, women and children sort the fruit. Very ripe ones are eaten or taken home. Rest is then taken to the packing rooms.


When you have more fruit than you can eat or give away, and you don’t want it to go waste, you find a way to preserve it. This year we had an overabundance of produce. We shared with our friends and had plums almost three meals a day. We did not want the fruit to rot on the ground. We made jam with juicy, sweet ripe plums.


After making many batches of plum jam, this recipe works best for me. If you want thick chunky and flavourful jam, these tips will help you-
  • Use only ripe and super ripe plums. The riper the better.
  • To keep the texture chunky, cut the plums into quarters. The fruit will breakdown while cooking and this will give the jam a nice texture.
  • Macerate overnight in the refrigerator. This will draw the juices out of the fruit and will dissolve the sugar. The jam cooks faster next day.
  • You may skip lemon juice if you are making a small batch of jam. Lemon juice also helps in preserving. Use the juice of half a lemon for every cup of fruit.


Himalayan Plum Jam | Plum Jam

Ingredients

  • Plums
  • Sugar
  • Lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Wash the plums. Wipe them dry.
  2. Cut into small pieces. 
  3. For every one cup of the chopped fruit, add one cup minus 1 tablespoon sugar. If the plums are tart, take 1 cup sugar for every 1 cup of chopped plums.
  4. Mix fruit pieces and sugar in a large steel or ceramic bowl and keep in the refrigerator overnight.
  5. Next morning, let the mixture come to room temperature.
  6. Cook on medium flame stirring constantly.
  7. Keep a steel plate in the freezer to test the jam.
  8. When the jam reduces in quantity almost by half and becomes thick, reduce the heat. Add lemon juice. Cook on low flame and stir constantly otherwise it will scorch at the bottom.
  9. When the jam bubbles and becomes thick and falls from the ladle in lumps, turn off the heat.
  10. Drop some jam in the plate kept in the freezer. Return the plate back to the freezer.  After a few minutes, nudge with your finger. If it wrinkles, it is done. If it is runny, cook further.
  11. In the meantime, sterilize the bottles. Place the washed and dried bottles with the lids in the oven. Set the temperature to 150 degrees and set the timer to 10 minutes. Remove the bottles and their lids from the oven.
  12. Fill the jam in the sterilized bottles while the jam is hot.

See more on sterilizing jars here 

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