Jelly, Jam, Preserves... jelly is made from fruit juices with added sugar and pectin... jam is made with the whole fruit and juice with sugar and pectin added... preserves use no pectin, and is made using whole fruit with sugar added... and cooked until thick and syrupy.
Using some of the plums I got, I decided to make plum preserves... a simple, delicious use for this sweet, fruity concoction is to spoon it over cheesecake for a "quick show-stopping dessert." And, as always, it's great with butter on toast!
Here's what I did...
I prepared my jars and lids... I placed my pint jars in a flat pan of water over two stove eyes and brought it to a boil, keeping the jars hot until I was ready for them.
I simmered my lids and rings and kept them hot.
I halved and pitted five cups of plums (I used red plums)
In a large, deep, stainless steel saucepan, I combined the plums,
4 cups of granulated sugar,
1 cup of water
I brought the mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Once everything was dissolved, I turned the heat to high and boiled hard until the mixture thickened.
I removed it from the heat to test gel.
This can be done by bringing the mixture to 220 degrees F., testing with a candy thermometer...
... or by using the "sheet test"... dip a cold metal spoon into the boiling soft spread. Lift the spoon and hold it horizontally and edge down so the syrup runs off the edge. As the mixture cooks, the drops with become heavier and will drop off the spoon separately but two at a time... when the two drops join together and "sheet" off the spoon, the gel stage has been reached.
When gel stage was reached, I skimmed off any foam...
... and ladled the mixture into hot pint jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. I removed air bubbles and adjusted headspace, if necessary, by adding hot preserves. I wiped the rim and tightened the lids on to fingertip tightness.
I placed the jars in my canner making sure they were completely covered with water... I processed the preserves using the boiling water method... bringing the water in the canner to a boil and processing for 15 minutes. I removed the jars using my jar lifter and set them on a folded dish towel on the counter to cool... and, of course, to listen for the PING of each successfully sealed jar.
|Plum Preserves... so pretty in the jars!|
This recipe will make about 3 pints or 5-6 half pints (I doubled it!)
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