Saturday, July 21, 2012

Plum-Vanilla Bean Jam



Since our friends are away for the summer, she told me to help myself to the plums on her tree. You don't have to tell me twice. So, with two carrots in hand - one for each of their dogs (to minimize barking) - the boys and I liberated pounds of plums from the Mobley tree and came home to do some summer cooking. We are going plum(b) crazy this afternoon. First up: jam.

2 pounds fruit, rinsed, peel, and sliced
1 C organic granulated sugar
3/4 liquid (I used a mixture of water and cherry juice - from the other summer cooking going on)
1/2 lemon, halved and juiced  
1 vanilla bean, sliced and seeded

1. Sterilize the jars for canning by boiling them and their lids.

2. To make the jam, place the fruit, sugar, liquid, and lemon juice into a large pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the vanilla bean seeds and pod. Continue to cook, stirring the jam constantly, for about 15 minutes.

3. Reduce the heat to medium. Hold the jam at a constant simmer, checking frequently to make sure the jam isn’t scorched at the bottom of the pot. After 15 minutes, check to see if your jam has set by running a wooden spoon down the middle of your jam. If the jam leaves a path, it's set. If the liquid runs back to fill the path, cook it a little bit longer. Remove the vanilla bean pod.

4. Place the jam in sterilized jars, leaving about a 1/2" gap to the top. Gently tap the bottom of each jar on the counter to release any air bubbles. Using a damp clean towel, wipe the rims of the jars and secure the lids and rings. Process in a water bath for 10-15 minutes. Remove the containers with tongs and let cool on the counter.

You’ll hear the sound of can tops popping shortly—a sign that a secure seal has been made. Pop, pop, pop. Or, you can refrigerate the jar without processing and use it within three weeks. Enjoy!

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