It’s been a very hot and humid summer here in the DC Metro area. Upon an escape to visit my parents in my hometown of Coopersburg, PA I finally had a chance to read my August 2010 edition of Whole Living: body+soul in balance magazine.
Half way through my read I stumbled upon a chapter on canning local produce. I’ve never canned anything before, yet have always had the desire to do so. As I paged through the ideas, from tomatoes to pickles, the last recipe was on canning plum jam. Sold.
So, on Saturday morning (after Bootcamp, of course) I headed over to the farmers market in Reston (right on Lake Anne) and purchased 4lbs of plums from one of my local vendors.
Next I washed the jelly jars that I got from my grandmother.
I set aside all the ingredients (plums, sugar and lemon juice) and started to boil the jars and the lids. Boiling the jars and the lids helps prepare your tools to properly seal during the canning process.
Next, I had to prepare the plums by chopping them into quartered pieces and removing the pits. This process took FOREVER!
After everything was properly chopped and the pits were removed, all ingredients were combined in a stockpot placed over high heat. Ingredients were brought to a boil as I mashed up the plums with a potato masher.
The process of mashing boiling plums in not easy. The bubbles of the plum sauce are hot and splatter easily. Be sure to wear an apron as your mashing. Then you’ll begin to notice a bubbly scum compiling on top of your mashed, juicy plums. Be sure to skim that scum off the top of the surface while you’re mashing and mixing.
After about 10-15 minutes, depending on how much plum jam you’re making, the fruit should begin to rise to the top of your hot sauce. Once the mixture clings to your spoon, falling off in languid clumps, you’re ready to start filling your hot jars with the mixture. Take one can out of the boiling water one at a time. Funnel the plum mixture into your jars, leaving about a half inch at the top. Wipe rims and threads of the jar clean with a damp cloth.
Put the warmed lids on each jar of plum jam, seal them tightly and place them back into boiling water. This process should take about 10 minutes.
After 10(ish) minutes remove the canner from the hot stove-top and let it cool for about 5 minutes. Once cool, use your tongs to remove each jar of jam from the hot water. Check the lids for a seal, and wipe the lid and jar with a cool, clean cloth. Allow the jars to sit for 12-24 hours and then store in a cool, dry dark place until ready to eat!