JAM RECIPE :: Summer plum jam with fresh thyme + Riesling


Summer plum jam with thyme + riesling

This summer plum jam is ideal with the little plums you find at the market in the summer, sometimes called Shiro. If you cannot use Riesling, you can substitute another sweet wine, such as Vin Santo, Vermouth blanc, or Muscatel. 

This recipe is a two-day process. If you want to do it in one day, let the plums macerate for a few hours at room temperature and they should render enough juice for the recipe; if they are very ripe and juicy, and you’re impatient, you can start jamming right away – just note, the longer this macerates, the better it will taste, and the quicker it will cook and reach a gel stage.

Special equipment: mason jars (Ball, Kerr, etc.), canning pot, tongs | Makes 16 x 4-ounce jars of jam

:::: Ingredients ::::

  • 6 pounds small, summer plums, quartered and pitted (about 6 cups), but NOT peeled
  • 4 cups sugar (2 pounds)
  • 4 ounces Riesling
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice (juice of about 6 large lemons)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme

:::: Directions ::::

PREP FRUIT: Rinse the plums in cold water and quarter; leave the skin on and discard the pit. Measure fruit into a glass bowl or plastic food-safe Tupperware and add lemon juice, wine, and thyme and all of the sugar. Stir well.

MACERATE: Macerate at room temperature for an hour or more (but no more than 18 hours). Stir a few times to help dissolve the sugar. If not using within 24 hours, refrigerate or leave in a cool place overnight or up to 72 hours, so that the sugar and lemon juice can help release the juice of the plums.

SANITIZE JARS & LIDS: Place your mason jars in a pot, covered with water; bring to a boil and turn off; leave jars in the hot water, covered, until ready to fill. Place lids in a heat-safe bowl and pour boiling water over them; let them sit in hot water while you prepare the jam.

Place a few metal spoons in the freezer for testing the consistency and gel of your jam later on. You can also place them in a cup of ice water if you prefer or on the windowsill in winter.

COOK: Bring the plum mixture to a boil and continue cooking on high heat for 5 minutes. Skim if there is foam and continue cooking on high heat for 5 minutes, stirring frequently to avoid scorching.  Gradually lower heat as jam reduces volume and starts to stick on the bottom. Stir every 60 seconds as it reduces.

The syrup will reach the gel stage at 221 ° F (105 ° C) on a candy thermometer, about 20 more minutes. If you don’t have a thermometer, test the consistency by placing a teaspoon of the hot jam onto one of the frozen spoons you prepped. Let it rest for a few minutes, then test the gel by tilting the spoon vertically. What is the consistency? If the jam runs loosely like syrup or has pools of liquid surrounding the fruit chunks, then it’s not done yet. If it glides slowly along in a gloopy glob, then the jam is ready. If syrupy, bring it to a boil again for 5 to 10 minutes. Once it is done, turn off the heat.

PROCESS: Place lids and rings on each jar, tighten, place jar in hot water canning pot using tongs, make sure jars are covered by at least 2-inches of water. Bring to a boil, covered and let boil in hot water for 6 minutes (they should be clinking together at a full boil).  Turn off heat, remove and let rest till cool. Jam lasts at least 12 months unopened. Store in a cool, dark place to retain color. Once opened, refrigerate.

Laena McCarthy