I’ve never made freezer jam before (or any kind of jam for that matter). My friend Ann gave me some plum jam she had made with red plums from a tree in her backyard. She had so many plums, she had enough to give me a bunch to make my own plum jam, too!
Ann found the recipe she used over at The Prepared Pantry. This plum jam is really yummy–sweet with a little tartness, and much, much better than store-bought! It’s opaque in color and has a thick, creamy consistency, so it’s a little different from your typical jam. It was easier to make than I thought, so I’ll definitely be making more homemade jam in the future! If you love plums, I think you’ll really like this jam. Even if you’ve never made jam before, you should give this a try. Since it’s freezer jam, you don’t need to bother with sterilizing jars or doing the other steps involved in traditional canning.
You don’t even need to have special canning jars–for the batch I made, I used clean glass jars I had saved from other foods like peanut butter, ice cream topping, pasta sauce…any jar with a tight-fitting lid will do. If you don’t have jars, you can also use plastic containers.
The original recipe doesn’t say how long you can store the jam, but according to the National Center for Home Food Preservation…
- Freezer/refrigerator jams and jellies are a distinct category of products that have to be stored in the refrigerator (usually up to 3 weeks) or frozen for up to a year.
- Freezer jams also have to be stored in the refrigerator after thawing and will only retain good quality for 3 to 4 weeks after opening. They are subject to more syneresis (“weeping” or separation of liquid from the gel) than cooked jams and jellies.
So it sounds like the jars of jam will keep in the freezer up to a year unopened, but once you open them, use them within 3 to 4 weeks. This particular jam can be used straight from the freezer, so I keep even my opened jars in the freezer–the consistency is still smooth and spreadable right from the freezer.
Here’s the recipe if you want to try making your own jam!
RED PLUM FREEZER JAM from The Prepared Pantry, with additional tips added
Makes enough to fill 5 pint-sized jam jars
- 3 cups chopped and cooked plums, unpeeled (you’ll need about 8 cups of chopped, uncooked plums–this may give you a little more than 3 cups cooked, but it’s better to have too much than not enough; you can always save the extra cooked plums for something else–like adding to a smoothie or making a fruit topping!)
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 1 package pectin (Ann and I used Sure-Jell)
- 4 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup light corn syrup
Wash and dry the five pint-sized jam jars (or use bigger jars and fewer) or plastic containers. Make sure the lids fit tightly.
Remove the stones from the unpeeled plums and chop into fine pieces (you’ll need 7 to 8 cups of chopped plums). Cook the plums until bubbly and soft, stirring mixture constantly as it cooks. I cooked my plums on low to medium low, switching between the 2 and 3 setting on my electric range stove top for about 30 minutes, and then cooked another 5 minutes on the 4 setting. The consistency will be kind of like chunky tomato sauce–here’s what mine looked like…
Measure the cooked plums to make sure you have 3 cups (if you have extra, save the rest for another use). Place the 3 cups of cooked plums in the bowl of your stand mixer. Add the lemon juice.
Using the paddle attachment, stir in the pectin thoroughly. Turn the mixer to the lowest setting and let the mixer run for 10 minutes (there will be some spattering of the mixture during this mixing time, so make sure your mixer is set on the lowest setting). Then let mixture sit for 20 minutes.
Add the corn syrup into the fruit mixture (the corn syrup reduces the likelihood of sugar crystallization). Add the sugar and stir with the mixer until it is completely dissolved and no longer grainy, about 5 minutes.
Immediately pour jam into your prepared containers leaving 1/2-inch clearance at the top to allow for expansion of mixture while freezing. Let the jars stand on the counter for 24 hours to allow the pectin to set, then freeze.
This is great on toast and English muffins! You can even spread it on pancakes and waffles if you want!
–Using the paddle attachment of your stand mixer incorporates air into the jam. If you don’t have a paddle attachment, use the regular beaters.
–Once the pectin begins to set, thickening the jam, do not stir. Continuing to stir will break down the pectin and make the jam more syrupy (which is OK if you decide you want to use it as a syrup or topping for pancakes, waffles, or even ice cream!)
What a nice way to start the day! Enjoy your plum jam!