What to do with all those Plums
How’s your fruit tree looking? A couple of weeks ago, my parents were up to their ears in red plums. We decided that it was time to crank out the old jelly recipe and make bath of plum jelly. I have had plum jelly my entire life, but never taken part in the process of making jelly. Today was the day.
First things first…you need a good recipe. The one we use was given to us from a family friend named Geraldine. Rule #1: You can ALWAYS trust a recipe from someone named Geraldine. It’s the kind of recipe that doesn’t have exact measurements and was hand written by the recipe giver. Those are the best kinds. After getting our fruit picked, our first step was to create the juice. We used a couple of pans full of ripe plums and filled about 1/3 of the way with water. The more water you use, the less plum flavor you will have in the juice. Cook that until the water boils and the plums get mushy.
From there you pour your fruit mixture into a juicer to separate the pulp from the juice. Thankfully my mom had an antique juicer that made this process easy. They don’t make ’em like they used too.
This is where the jelly enthusiast may raise an eye-brow. To have nice clear jelly, you would probably want to use a cheese cloth or something with small holes to make sure no pulp goes into the juice. Since we aren’t that hardcore and did not have the time we were okay with a little pulp. Like my mom said, “This may not win a jelly contest…but it is still going to taste good!”
The next step is for all the sugar lovers. Take five cups of your prepared juice into a pot and add 7 cups of sugar! (You read that correctly) Bring that to a boil and then add you Sure-Jell (or your pectin of choice). Return to a boil and boil for three minutes. If your batch gets a little foamy, add a 1/4 stick of butter. This just gets healthier and healthier!
Once you have finished boiling, now is time to fill up the jars. Make sure you have done everything you need to do to sanitize the jars prepare the lids.
Once your jelly mixture is in jars, clean up and make another batch until you are out of juice. We ended up making 6 different batches. For those doing that math that is 42 CUPS OF SUGAR?! But, when you only eat it one tablespoon at a time…it makes it okay. When you make this much Jelly/Jam, fill several smaller jars and these make the perfect small gifts for teachers, Christmas, hostess, etc.
This turned out to be a wonderful adventure and a tradition I hope to continue on for years to come!
PS: For those wondering, I did make a batch with Splenda and it turned out wonderful. Not as sweet as the sugar, but still plum delicious. Reach out to me if you would like that recipe – firstname.lastname@example.org
Jarratt Calvert is the Operations Manager at Shades of Green and a Certified Nursery Professional.