Plum-rosemary jam

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It’s the time of the year when our damson plum tree is laden with tiny tart plums that suddenly ripen over a few hot days. Last week, or was it the week before (!), I picked around 6kg of plums to make jam. The plum-ginger-lime jam is always a favourite with my family, the kids love it on their toast, so half of the plums went into making a new batch of that one.

With the other half, though, I wanted to try something new. I came across a recipe on the blog Eat the Love for a strawberry-plum-rosemary jam which sounded intriguing, and that sent me on a Google-Pinterest hunt for more plum-rosemary jam recipes. In the end I grabbed a little of this and that, and came up with my own version, using fresh rosemary from my garden and a lemon from a friend’s lemon tree.

I was mindful that rosemary can be quite overpowering so I took it out after the initial cooking of the plums. It’s given the jam a wonderfully subtle herbal note, a hint of rosemary that complements the tart sweetness of the plums. I wonder how it would go on scones with a bit of crème fraiche instead of double cream?

Out of 6kg of plums, I now have around 20 jars of jam, in various sizes and two flavours. Half of them are for the school fete, the rest are for us. And I’ve still got a kilo of plums to play with, might be time for a batch of plum ice cream!

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Plum-Rosemary Jam
2 kg damson plums, washed, stems removed
1 large lemon, juice and zest
2-3 sprigs of rosemary
2 cups water
1.75 kg sugar

Put whole plums, lemon zest and juice, whole rosemary sprigs and water into large non-reactive pot.

Bring to boil over medium-high heat and reduce to simmer for 10-15 minutes until the plum skins have split and the flesh is soft.

Remove from heat and mash plum mixture with a potato masher. After 10-15 minutes more, remove the rosemary and discard. Allow to cool and then remove plum stones (see notes below).

Bring plum mush back to the boil over medium-high heat. Add sugar and stir until dissolved.

Allow to boil vigorously, stirring occasionally, for 20-30 minutes, until jam “jells” (see notes below). Skim off any scum that forms and remove any plum stones that come to the surface. When it is ready, take off the heat and let it sit for 5 minutes or so while the jars are set up.

Pour jam into hot sterilised jars and seal (see notes below). Recipe makes about 3-3.5 L of jam.

Notes

1. I have found the best way to remove plum stones is to use a slotted spoon to scoop up plum mixture and a smaller spoon (or clean fingers) to pull out stones. It’s a tedious job, but stones that are missed can usually be pulled out when the jam mixture is boiling—they seem to get tossed up to the surface by the rolling boil. If necessary, the stewed fruit can be refrigerated overnight until ready to perform the next step.

2. I use two methods to determine when my jam has jelled. First of all, put a couple of saucers in the freezer before starting to make the jam. Then, I regularly scoop up a bit of jam onto the wooden spoon and then slowly tip the spoon sideways to see if the droplets run together to form a “sheet” of jam. When that happens I grab a saucer from the freezer and drop a little bit of jam onto it. Back into the freezer for a couple of minutes and then push your finger into the jam—when it wrinkles up it has jelled. Better to underdo it slightly and have slightly runnier jam than overcook it.

3. I sterilise my jars and lids by washing in very hot soapy water. The jars are then placed upright on a baking paper-lined tray and popped into the oven, which has been set to 120ºC or thereabouts. I remove the jars just before I pour the jam into them, then screw the lids on tight and turn them upside down to cool down.

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Here Comes the Sun: Art Jewelry Elements Rebirth of the Sun Challenge

The Art Jewelry Elements challenge this month is celebrating the rebirth of the sun during the winter solstice. Well, here in Australia, we are at the other end of the sun’s cycle and have just passed midsummer. That’s just fine with me as I love summer, well, up until it gets really stinking hot, so I’m happy to just celebrate the sun!

This time around I didn’t win one of the challenge giveaways so instead I bought one of Lesley Watt‘s sun pendants, rather a lovely one I think! I had chosen a bunch of Czech beads and laid them out in a reasonably complex order. And then I looked at the pendant again and decided simple was best. So I linked a small selection of beads together and added them to the pendant, popped some rather nice brass chain on as well, and created a little dangle for the bottom of the pendant.

Rebirth of the Sun necklace

I realised after I made it that the little pops of orangey-pink remind me of the colours in the sky at dawn, when the sun is reborn each day.

There are others joining in this AJE challenge, so if you can, go and see what they made too! Thank you Lesley and the AJE team for the challenge theme!

Guest Designers
Melissa Trudinger <– YOU ARE HERE!

AJE Team