Vanilla is a dominant flavor in this jam, that meshes perfectly with the sweet tang of the black plums. The fresh Mint assists in a slight menthol cooling effect, but doesn’t overpower the flavor palate.
The international market by my house had some black plums for a dirt cheap price, that smelled amazing. Naturally, I came home gleefully toting a 4 pound bag of them. While digging around on the internet for jam inspiration, I stumbled upon a great blog that had a fantastic list of mix and match flavors, as well as a standard ratio for a no-pectin jam. Not currently having any classic pectin in the house, I felt that this jam formula was something I definitely needed to add to my kitchen repertoire.
I’m hooked. The formula is very simple, and the beautiful consistency that the jam turned, velvety and creamy, was a welcome change from my stiff pectin jams. Vanilla is a dominant flavor in this jam, that meshes perfectly with the sweet tang of the black plums. The fresh Mint assists in a slight menthol cooling effect, but doesn’t overpower the flavor palate. So far I have eaten this jam with toast, biscuits and a bagel this morning; but this jam was made to be a topping for vanilla ice cream.
Note: This jam takes 2 days to complete, so take that into consideration. What I did was prep the plums before bed, and woke up and made my jam in the morning. As I’ve said before (I will always be a broken record about food safety), don’t jump into canning as a newbie without reading the USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning first.
Black Plum and Vanilla Bean Jam with Mint(Makes 4- half pint jars)
Ingredients 4lbs of Black Plums 1.5 Cups of Organic Cane Sugar 2 Tbs Lemon Juice 2 Whole Bourbon Vanilla Beans 1 Tbs Fresh Mint, Finely Chopped
Peel your plums. To do this, drop the whole plums in a large pot scalding water for 30-60 seconds. Remove the plums and drop in a bowl of ice water for another minute. This should help the peels to just slide off easily.
After your plums are cool, remove the pits and place in a large bowl. Add the can sugar to the plums and cover. Let sit in the refrigerator overnight to macerate. This will help the fruit to release it’s juices, making the boiling process easier.
Day Two: Take your macerated plums and put in a large pot, heat the plums while mashing and stirring. The amount of mashing you need to do depends on the consistency of your jam. If you want to achieve a classic, creamy jam texture mash them throughly. If preserves are your desire, leave some larger chunks of plums.
Scrape out your vanilla bean pods and add to the plums, along with the Lemon Juice and Mint. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
Attach a candy thermometer to your pot (not touching the bottom) and bring the jam up to 220 degrees. This can take quite a bit of time. Make sure you are using a wide and tall pot, because this jam loves to spit back at you.
Once your mixture has reached 220 degrees, preform a sheet test. My favorite way of sheet testing is to place a couple small plates in the freezer before I start cooking my jam. To test, take your plate out of the freezer and drop about a teaspoon-full of jam onto it. Let it rest and cool for a couple minutes and observe. I personally wiggle the plate around and tilt it sideways to make sure my jam is at the consistency I want.
Once desired consistency is reached, remove the jam from heat.
Pour the jam into hot, sterilized jars, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace.
Remove bubbles with rubber spatula, and affix the lids.
Process in a Boiling Water Bath for 10 minutes.
Remove and let sit overnight. Check Seals and store in a cool, dark and dry place.