Food Flirt

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Location: Petaluma, California, United States

Jacqueline is an international award winning journalist whose stories about food never fail to tantalize her reader's taste buds.

Friday, October 08, 2010


My son, Timothy, mentioned that he remembered how much he loved my mother's fantastic plum jam and why didn't I ever make it.  Well, the gauntlet was tossed and I decided to figure out how to make this delicious treat.

I remember mother in her kitchen with pots, strainers, mashers and jars everywhere.  It looked like a chemistry lab in there!  Making plum jam was a huge project for her and she loved it.  One of our neighbors had a huge plum tree, so my sister and I would go out and gather big bags full of the juicy, red fruit.  I can still hear mother singing as she stirred the bubbling fruit.  She was very happy in her kitchen, especially when she was making some delicious treat. 

One of her favorite songs was by Johnny Mercer and went something like this:

Accentuate the positive
Eliminate the negative
Hang on to the affirmative
And don't mess with Mr. In-Between

I loved that song and incorporated that message into my personal philosophy.  It's a goodie!

Anyway, back to the plum jam.  I went out to my friends at Green String Organic Farm to search out plums, where I found several varieties were ripe.  I liked the look of the Santa Rosa plums and bought just over 3 pounds.  I didn't have my mother's recipe for the jam but I found one that looked easy enough for me to try – and voila!  I created a delicious, deep red jam.  Here's the recipe.  I hope you decide to try it out.

Tim is coming for a visit in the next couple of weeks.  I can't wait to surprise him with my very own version of his grandmother's plum jam.


3 pounds firm Santa Rosa plums, cut into eights, pits discarded
½ cut water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
5 cups sugar
1 (3 ox) package commercial pectin

Place plums, water and lemon juice in a large non-aluminum stockpot.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring often.  Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until fruit is soft. 

Stir in sugar.  Return heat to high and bring back to a rolling boil while stirring constantly.  Add pectin and return to a boil while stirring.  Continue to stir and boil for 1 minute then remove from heat. Let rest for 1 minute, then skim off any foam.  2 tablespoons of butter can be added to help reduce foam.

Pour into sterilized jars, leaving 1/8 inch of space at the top.  Wipe rims and screw on sterilized lids.  Turn jars over (top side down) and let rest for about ½ hour.  Turn jars upright and allow to cool completely. 

The popping sound the lids make as they seal are among of my favorite sounds.

I usually store my jam's in the refrigerator.