This two ingredient roast plum jam is a huge hit with most people. It’s not too sweet and slightly tart. You can add more sugar to taste.
Every year we have a massive surplus of Greengages (also called Reine Claude plum).
We give it away by the buck load, make jam from it, made plum brandy, plum fruit leather, let the birds feast on it, and a lot of the fallen plums go in the compost.
I’ve researched recipes on the internet, but the recipes are not that practical to me. I’m not sure what the fruit is like that other people have, but ours is so juicy that the first time I made greengage jam, I spent four hours standing and stirring the pot until it had reached setting point. I vowed to find a better way.
These days I use a very simple method to prepare my Green Gage plum jam. Roasting separates the flesh from the juice. It makes the jam slightly darker in colour, but hardly affects the flavour at all (making it a bit richer if anything).
I don’t use pectin or lemon juice to make jam set. I think baking the plums with the seeds makes the jam set perfectly well without.
4kgs (8.8 lb) of green gages, firm and not quite ripe are best. Pitting is optional.
2kgs (4.4 lb) sugar
¼ cup of lemon juice (optional)
For variety, I flavour my jam in many different ways:
- Vanilla (1/4 cup vanilla extract (not essence) )
- Marmalade (zest and flesh of 4 oranges, juice of 4 lemons)
- Thyme (two sprigs of fresh thyme)
- Lavender (¼ cup (a handful) of lavender flowers*)
- ⅓ cup Port, orange zest and cinnamon (1 cup port wine, and 4 cinnamon sticks*)
- Cardamom and orange (20 whole cardamom* and zest from 4 oranges)
- Chai flavours ( ¼ cup of home-made syrup made from cardamom, cinnamon, coriander seeds, cloves, and star anise)
- Lime and Ginger (juice of 3 limes, and 6 tbsp grated ginger peeled and grated).
*Add these ingredients at the baking stage
- Preheat oven to 180C, 356F. Place two clean saucers into your freezer (optional).
- Wash plums, and place them in one or more layers in a roasting dish (the deeper the better.) (If you’re using cinnamon sticks, lavender, and cardamom pods add them at this stage)
- Roast plums for 40-50 minutes (If you have a shallow pan, keep an eye on it, because it might overflow. I like to open the oven at 30mins, then chock the door open to let the steam out.)
Place sugar in a heatproof bowl or tray.
- Place clean jars and metal lids on a tea towel on an oven or biscuit tray (boil plastic lids in a large saucepan).
- When the plums are ready, remove from the oven.
- Place the sugar in the oven for 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, use a slotted spoon to transfer them into a colander (don’t use a seive, it’s more trouble than it’s worth).
- Place the colandar over a large saucepan. Push the plum pulp through the colander, to remove seeds and most of the skin (some skin is fine). Add optional lemon juice and flavourings at this point.
- Heat plum pulp on stove until it’s boiling (it may bubble and spit at you). Stir constantly to prevent it sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- When the sugar is ready, carefully add it to the plum pulp (be careful, the sugar will be very hot), and stir.
- Place the tray of jars in the hot oven for 5 minutes, then turn the heat off.
- Turn heat to medium, and cook, stirring constantly, until it reaches the correct consistency (depending on how much baking liquid ended up in the pulp, this will take 2-10 minutes).
- The jam is ready when the jam drips slowly off the spoon with the consistency of cold molasses (or alternatively when sugar thermometer shows 105C (220F). If you don’t have a sugar thermometer, and you’re not familiar with jam making, place a blob of the jam mix on one of the saucers from your freezer. Return to the freezer for 2 minutes or until chilled, then dip your finger in the mix. If the surface wrinkles and it has a gel consistency, then it’s ready.
- Sterilise all bottling equipment with boiling water (I use a measuring jug, long teaspoons, tongs, and a new chux wipe).
- Place the jars on a warm or insulated surface.
- Pour the hot jam into the jars, leaving 1/2cm (1/4 inch) headspace. Wipe any jam or jelly from the rims of the jars, and seal immediately (the jars will be really hot so use a clean tea towel).
Optional water bath
I’ve never had a problem with my jam, but if you’r concerned about contamination, then I recommend that you use a water bath. I don’t bother doing this additional step, but I highly recommend it if you are selling your jam).
- Place a clean tea towel in the bottom of an extra large saucepan.
- Either fill a quarter with water, place it on the stove, and heat to a simmer, then add the jars of jam (ensure the jars are not touching).
- or place the jam jars on the tea towel (ensure the jars are not touching), boil a jug of water, and fill the pot with boiling water up to ⅔ the height of the jars (using the similar sized jars works best).
- Boil for 10 minutes, let stand for 5 minutes.
- REMOVE jars from water and cool.
- Check lids for seal after 12 to 24 hours. If jar is sealed, the lid will not flex up or down. If it is not sealed, refrigerate immediately or check the lid, and process in a water bath.