As a cook, I find there’s nothing more satisfying than working with really, really fresh ingredients. I recently picked plums off my niece and nephew’s tree, just blocks from my home, and couldn’t wait to get busy creating something special to share with them. I decided an unusual jam would be the perfect thing, and it didn’t take long to think up this tasty combination. The result is a jam that sets very nicely and is sweet but not overly so. It is a perfect condiment for roasted meats of all sorts and adds a lovely element to cheese plates as well. I think I’d enjoy it on warm scones too! It doesn’t matter what kind of plums you use, although less-sweet varieties are likely the best option. Don’t worry if the fruit is not uniformly ripe – as I learned in a workshop last year with Seattle’s Brook Hurst Stephens, a certified Master Food Preserver, it’s a good idea to use 25% unripe fruit when making preserves, for better flavour.
Approximately 25 small plums to yield 4.5 cups of diced fruit
3 cups white sugar
1.5 tablespoons grated gingerroot
1 tablespoon green cardamom pods
1 pouch liquid pectin
- Wash plums. Cut each in half, remove pit, then dice finely.
- Put diced plums in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan and pour sugar on top. Stir gently and let sit 1 – 4 hours. This process of macerating the fruit will draw the juice out and make for a more flavourful jam.
- While fruit is macerating, split open the cardamom pods with a mortar & pestle or the bottom of a sturdy mug or drinking glass. Use your fingernails to scrape the brown seeds out of the pods.
- With the mortar & pestle or sturdy mug/glass, grind the seeds to make a coarse powder. You need 1 teaspoon of crushed cardamom. Add to the fruit and sugar mixture.
- Grate the gingerroot and add it to the fruit mixture.
- Zest the lime, then cut it in half and juice it. Add the lime zest and juice to the fruit mixture.
- Just before cooking the jam, wash four 8oz canning jars and put them in a 200F oven; turn the oven off.
- After the fruit has macerated for at least an hour, put the pot on medium-high heat and bring to a boil, stirring often. When the mixture is boiling, reduce heat to medium. Cook, uncovered, for 15 minutes, stirring often.
- Increase heat to medium-high and when the jam is back to a full, rolling boil, add the liquid pectin. Cook, stirring constantly, for one minute.
- Remove from heat and let cool five minutes, stirring every 30 seconds or so.
- Ladle jam into hot jars, wipe the rims and put sealer lids on them.
- Process 15 minutes in a boiling water bath.
Makes four 8oz jars.