In what has been a mad rush to can every fruit and vegetable in sight before the scary Santa Barbara winter drives us all inside (hoping we don’t drown in the impending winter floods), I somehow forgot about plum jam until last week and was a bit irked that there were no plums left to be had. Fortunately, it was not a total loss, because one stall at the farmer’s market sells an absurdly large number of pluot varieties that seem to be available for nearly half the year. What is a pluot and how is it different than a plumcot? While wikipedia will tell you more about this than any sane person would like to know, the salient point is that, by combining plum and apricot genes, new fruit with a multitude of colors are possible. New colors means awesome-looking jam. I couldn’t pass up awesome-looking jam, now could I? A very kind lady handing out samples of pluots pointed me toward the Dapple Dandy pluot variety, saying that they make a lovely pink jam. I added two dark-skinned pluots to the mix, and the result was a deeply pink-purple jam with a serious kick of cardamom.
Cardamom Pluot Jam (adapted from Canning for a New Generation)
(Makes 5-6 half-pints of jam)
4 pounds of ripe pluots
2 cups sugar
3 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon ground cardamom
To make the jam: Prepare the pluots by pitting them and cutting them into small pieces. Mix the plums and sugar in a large pot and bring to a simmer for 5 minutes. You’ll probably want to stir the mixture frequently, as the fruit has an annoying tendency to stick to the bottom of the pot. After 5 minutes, separate the pluot pieces from the juice by using a slotted spoon and transferring all the pluot pieces to a separate heat-proof bowl. Try to keep as much of the juice in the pot as possible, perhaps spooning some back into the pot from the bowl of pluot pieces. Bring the juices back to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes to thicken the juices into a syrup. Then add the pluot pieces back to the pot of syrup, along with the lime juice and cardamom and bring the jam to a simmer for about 15 minutes. You can test to see when the jam is thick enough by putting some on a plate you’ve stashed in the freezer and then returning said dab of jam on said frozen plate back to the freezer for a minute; the dab of jam should be thickened.
To can the jam: Follow the detailed canning instructions in the post on dilly beans, with the following specifications. When the jam is done cooking, pour it into sterilized half-pint jars, leaving 1/4 inch of headspace. Since jam is sticky and has a tendency to get everywhere, don’t forget to wipe the rims of the jars before putting on the lids. To process the half-pints of jam, boil them in a hot-water bath for 5 minutes.