Saturday, August 28, 2010
It was a good year for the plum tree out back- since we've moved here I haven't been able to use them for anything- there was either not enough, or they were too small or I was too busy, not so this year. My mom managed to alert me to the fact that there were tons of plums that were perfectly ripe, so I made a batch of preserves- just by halving and pitting the plums and simmering with a cinnamon stick, some crystallized ginger, star anise and sugar. They look lovely but are slightly bitter because of the skins, however when you eat them with something- like a scone, or ice cream, they're very tasty, the bitterness gets mellowed, and I'm not sure about the star anise, it might not really have a place in there.
So in order to avoid the bitterness I skinned the next batch of plums, simmered with a minimum of sugar and a cinnamon stick, and then added gelatin (2 packets to about 1 1/2 pints liquid gives a nice spreadable consistency) to make it set ( I have given up on certo, I have no luck with it- though I will try it with my crab apples later on- one last chance). Unfortunately the addition of the gelatin turned my golden jam into a revolting skin-like colour- almost like the colour of solidified Bacon fat, It's slightly better now, since I've boiled it again, it's a little more peachy, I know I could add food colouring- but there's such a small amount- we'll eat it up quickly.
Despite the colour it is tasty- slightly sour, and not too sweet, very fruity- That's one thing about gelatin- it doesn't require the sugar that pectin does to set- so your jam can have only 1/2 cup of sugar in it, not the 8 cups that certo asks for. That means your jam tastes more like fruit, not just sweetness, which is nice.