Sunday, July 13, 2008

Pluot Jam puts summer in a jar

Last year's strawberry jam was a tremendous success, and it helped me put into practice two things I had always known, or suspected anyway, in theory - that making jam at home is not difficult, and that jam made at home can taste vastly superior to that bought in a store.

Ever since the local strawberries started appearing in the markets in spring this year, I had been on the lookout for finding the ones that were just perfect to make a new batch of jam, but without much luck. They were ok enough to eat out of hand, but falling short of last year's loot. While I kept saying 'meh' to the ones I tasted, stone fruits started rolling in, in the last few weeks, and as I made a mental note that the pluots seemed really good this time around, I had a why-didn't-I think-of-this-before moment. It struck me that rather than wait for good strawberries to make jam I could turn some of these excellent, sweet as candy pluots into jam!

Pluots: hybrids of plums and apricots

Once the idea was established, I started looking for dependable pluot jam recipes that did not use commercial pectin, and found nearly none. I am guessing it could be because even though pluots have been around and easily available for several years now, there are many people who are not familiar with it. Neither does the Webster dictionary define it yet, nor does the blogger spell checker recognize the word!

Pluots are a complex cross hybrid between a plum and an apricot, and can run the gamut from the more 'plumy' ones to the more 'apricoty' ones in taste, color, and texture. Why not 'aprium' then, you might ask. Well, that exists too, depending on the percentages of the two fruits in the resulting hybrid. The fruits I chose were primarily based on taste, but their gorgeous pink color (don't have a picture of the sliced fruit) added to the charm too.

With the lack of recipes, I went completely on my own, but with fruit, sugar, a little acid, and some common sense, I managed quite well. The result is the perfect example of the fact that if you start with good fruits, you can make some great jam.

Pluot Jam


Pluot Jam

Ingredients

2 lb pluots (about 12-14)
1.5 cups sugar (or a little less)
2 Tablespoons lemon juice

Method

Place three small plates in a freezer. On a flat surface near the cooking stove lay out a clean dish towel.

Bring a large wide pot of water to boil. Add in the pluots gently, and after 1 minute, take them out with a slotted spoon, and place on the dish towel. When they are cool to touch, peel them, and place the peeled pluots in a non-reactive bowl.

Remove the pits. Chop or gently mash all the fruits. Add the sugar and leave this for about half an hour, so that the sugar dissolves in the resulting juice.

In a heavy bottomed saucepan, cook the pluots, sugar, and lemon juice together.

Bring the mixture to a full rolling boil. Stir often, until the mixture reaches 220 degrees F (105 degrees C), reducing the heat only slightly if it sticks to the bottom.

After about 10 minutes of boiling, place a spoonful of the jam onto one of the cold plates. Return to freezer for a minute. Run your finger through the jam on the plate. If it doesn't try to run back together (if you can make a line through it with your finger) it's ready. If not, repeat after a few minutes with another cold plate.

Let it cool a little, and then transfer to hot sterile jars. Refrigerate after it has completely cooled.

Note

Even though I have not tested it, I think regular plums could be used just as well this way to make plum jam.

Serving Suggestion

A slice of whole grain bread, pluot jam, and a mild Havarti cheese has been the current choice for a small snack. The jam also makes a perfect addition to the breakfast table, and goes to WBB: Summer.

22 comments:

bee said...

yummy. we just made some plum jam with ginger. i love the colour.

ms said...

why not use commercial pectin? Are there downsides to it? Just curious. I did not know of pluots before- a simple and neat recipe.

TheCooker said...

Aprium? Are you serious? :)

Lovely colour. I need a jam session pretty soon...while the fruits are still available.

madteaparty said...

Ah - another jamming buddy who makes it the old fashioned way! This method, as opposed to other popular 'quick-methods' makes the most intense flavoured jams. Yes, plum jam can be made the same way, and cherry jam, and apple jam, and mango jam... :D What a beautiful colour that jam of your has!

Miri said...

Wow! that looks awesome! Didnt even know this fruit existed...

प्रिया said...

Wow! That looks perfect! :) You are so innovative...

Richa said...

I'm thinking of preserving the peaches this year :)
lovely color!

Mints! said...

wow! what a sweet jam! a friend of mine has a huge plum tree in the backyard and she did this jam almost every year but never bothered to get some fruits and try this out.

evolvingtastes said...

Bee, ooh ginger! I pondered over adding cardamom to this, but decided to leave it plain.

ms, just a resistance to using something "packaged", as opposed to good old lemon juice. As it is, I was going to make only one jarful, and was going to refrigerate it, so I didn't any added stabilizers.

TC, if you like jam, just go for it. You will wonder why you don't do it more often. It hardly takes any time.

Anita, thanks for all those yumcilicious suggestions! :-) My mother used to make jams all the time, in huge quantities too. Apple and pineapple jams were very common at our place.

miri, pluots are still not widely known, but around here, we are blessed.

प्रिया, now now. Don't chadhao me too much. :-)

Richa, but of course. I wonder if you like any other fruit at all!

mints, as it happens, a week after I made the jam a friend showed up with 10 lbs of plums from their yard! They are super sweet and currently just eating through those, but perhaps will cook something with them too.

Anamika:The Sugarcrafter said...

dear evolving taste
i never knew that Pluots are a hybrid between a plum and an apricot...its an interesting revelation and equally good is your jam..simply loved it !

Vaishali said...

Delicious! My hubby's a big jam-lover, but I've never tried my hand at making it. You've inspired me!

Vaishali said...
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A&N said...

Pluot sounds like a pretty distinct fruit! And I am surprised that the jam turned out so well without any pectin. Looks fantastic :) Since I've never tasted Pluot, any particular reason why you added lemon to the jam?

thanks for the recipe :)

A.

evolvingtastes said...

Anamika, thanks.

Vaishali, you will not be disappointed. It would be fairly easy for someone like you.

A, most fruits have natural pectin in them and can be turned into jam just with sugar. Lemons, and particularly the pith are high in pectin, and hence added while making jam to make it easier to set.

ServesYouRight said...

You're making the jam-making enterprise sound less terrifying than I thought it was... The jam does look (and sound) delish!

Smita

ServesYouRight said...

You're making the jam-making enterprise sound less terrifying than I thought it was... The jam does look (and sound) delish!

Smita

evolvingtastes said...

Smita, it really is a lot easier than it sounds.

Sunshinemom said...

Lovely colour! These look like the plums we get here!

Janne said...

I just finished making this as my very first attempt at making jam. I have to say... it wasn't nearly as scary as I thought :) Thanks for a simple recipe and clear directions!

Janne said...
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Janne said...
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evolvingtastes said...

I am so glad to hear that Janne! You are most welcome, and welcome to my blog too.

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