Thursday, October 4, 2012

Damson Plums: Jam and Drunk

My Damson plum tree had a bumper crop last year and again this year – and then at the end of the ripening season it seems to have died back.  The whole thing isn’t dead – there is still some greenery on it, but as a result of the die back (which I can only hope is normal and not disease or something like that.) I can’t count on getting any plums next year.

 Last year’s plums were picked and processed just before I moved into the house.  I boiled them down, removed the stones and (most of) the skins and then froze the results – which I processed into a batch of applesauce this year.

This year’s plums were picked and frozen with a plan to make jam.

I did, however, puncture a bunch of them, fill a mason jar and cover that with vodka and some sugar.  The resulting item was then shaken daily for about a month and then put into a cupboard to sit until today when I decanted that…

But first, the jam:

I did some online research and located a very simple looking recipe for plum jam using damsons.  Plums, water and sugar (no pectin as I am told that plums have plenty of pectin in them & don’t actually need it to be added to make it set.

We shall see about that.

Anyhow, last night I pulled the plums (and the rhubarb) out of the freezer, put the plums into my big stock pot to boil down today and then let them sit out overnight to thaw.  After grocery shopping and lunch, I came home and turned the heat on low to start getting the plums ready to make jam.

De-stoning and de-skinning plums is not as simple as it was with the apples. The food mill may have worked, but I ended up letting the mass cool and getting jelly bags through which to smoosh the glop and get the juice and flesh without the added stones and skin.

VERY messy (you’re actually supposed to just let gravity do its thing, but I’m not patient enough for that and so I “helped” – thus the messy and no pictures. What also didn’t help the process for me was that every time I got my hands in to start smooshing, an animal was at the door wanting in or out.


Anyhow, once smooshed I ended up with roughly 16 cups of processed fruit to make jam with. Added sugar boiled boiled and more boiled and then into the sterilized jars, sealed and processed as per the instructions on the recipe.  I am now listening to the lids pop and praying the jam actually sets.  One site I reviewed said that:

If you don’t want to invest any additional work in that jam, all you have to do is change expectations. If it’s just sort of runny, call it preserves. If it’s totally sloshy, label it syrup and move on with your life.

I love it and am stealing the thought. I’m hoping I end up with Jam, but if I don’t preserves and / or syrup will also work ha ha ha! There is, or course, suggestions for what to do with it if you can’t live with preserves or syrup, but I’ll just use whatever it happens to turn into and gift it as such (grin)

On to the drunk plums. I also decided to decant them while I was being all messy and had my hands wet from washing off previous goop. This I let drip out while I was getting my chicken into the oven. I’m having roast chicken tonight, chicken pot pie tomorrow and making soup stock so I can make soup before I go back to work.

All I can say about the drunk plums is W-O-W. This is a taste that has to be experienced to be believed. It’s mostly liquid and I don’t anticipate trying to thicken it up (and ruin it) so I am thinking this will be something to be tippled lightly with and maybe mixed into ginger-ale for fruity-boozy goodness.

With love across the waters,

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