It’s Jam Time!

It’s that time of the year again! I love finding fruit in the hedgerows and turning it into jams or freezing it for fruit crumbles and tarts in the depths of winter. The last couple of weeks have been filled with picking, freezing and then jamming a huge crop of wild plums of all different sorts. They all make delicious jam. The lovely thing about plums is that they freeze really well and can be stored in the freezer until you are ready to make the jam. The fruit will frequently burst on thawing, but that doesn’t matter at all, since you’re going to be squashing them down as they simmer in a any case.

Jam is really very straightforward to make. It doesn’t have to involve specialised equipment, just a deep, heavy bottomed pan, a large wooden spoon, a set of empty, clean jam jars with lids or cellophane jar covers, three or four clean saucers, a ladle and a weighing scales. If you have narrow-necked jars, a funnel makes it easier to fill the jars without pouring jam down the outside of the jars!

You do have to be careful when making jam as boiling sugar can be dangerous. The boiling and stirring are probably best done without small children around. Mine like to help with the weighing of fruit and sugar, but that’s all. The rest is just too dangerous. They also “clean up” the testing saucers after the jam’s finished!

Here’s my recipe for Wild Plum Jam

Recipe: Wild Plum Jam

Summary: A delicious breakfast jam


  • 6lb / 2.5kg wild plums
  • about 5lb 6oz / 2.375kg granulated sugar (This weight depends on the weight of fruit you have left after the stones are removed)


  1. Wash and pick over the fruit, discarding any which are starting to go off. Slight bruises will not matter, but brown squashy patches will affect the taste.
  2. Simmer the fruit in a large, heavy-bottomed pan, stirring frequently to prevent it from sticking.
  3. Squash any un-popped fruit against the side of the pan with a wooden spoon.
  4. Place a colander over your preserving pan or whatever you are going to make the jam in. I use a plastic colander with quite wide slots and a sieve type shape (ie. with a handle), as this sits over the edge of my deep jam pan.
  5. Ladle the simmered fruit into the colander a bit at a time and stir. The stones will move to the edge and you can scoop them out with a spoon.
  6. When you have all the stones on a plate/dish, weigh them and take their weight away from the weight of the fruit. The answer is the amount of sugar you will need to make the jam.
  7. Put a few saucers in the fridge ready for testing your jam.
  8. If you are using plastic-lined metal lids, put them in a small saucepan, cover with water and bring to the boil. Boil for at least 5 minutes to sterilise them.
  9. Wash your jars in hot, soapy water, rinse thoroughly and put them in the oven. Always put in one more jar than you think you could possibly need. Running out would be a disaster! Set the oven to 120 °C(100°C fan oven) / Gas Mark ½ and leave to heat with the jars in it. The jars need at least 10 minutes at temperature to be sterile and of course they must be hot enough to cope with having boiling jam poured into them. (Hot jam will crack cold glass.)
  10. Get all your waxed discs and cellophane tops ready, lay a complete newspaper, open at the middle, ready to receive the hot jars and set up somewhere heat resistant to put the jam pan while you do the filling.
  11. When you are sure that everything is ready, bring the fruit pulp to the boil and add the sugar, stirring to ensure it all dissolves without sticking to the bottom.
  12. Boil for about 10 minutes, or until the scum starts to appear on the surface. Skim this off.
  13. Test to see if the jam is ready by putting a small puddle on one of your cold saucers and leaving it in the fridge for a few minutes. If it is ready it will wrinkle when you push a finger tip through the puddle from the outside edge.
  14. Pot it up carefully, but fairly quickly, sealing up your pots as you go. Remember to wet the cellophane discs before putting them on the hot pots. They will shrink to give a good seal as the pots cool.

Quick Notes

Do remember to label your jam. When you come across jars after many months, it’s always good to know what is in them!

Cooking time (duration): 1 hour or thereabouts all in

Diet type: Dairy free

Number of servings (yield): lots of gorgeous breakfasts! About 10 x 1lb pots

Meal type: breakfast

Microformatting by hRecipe.

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