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August 15, 2015

Jam and Jelly

We have started the canning season with some plum jam and mint jelly.

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We have one young plum tree that produces so heavily that we cannot keep up with eating the fresh fruit. We all do our part, especially the boys, who are constantly picking fruit and stuffing their faces, but it’s not enough.

The tree in question is an Italian plum, which is the variety used for prunes, so we’ll definitely have to dry some as well, but in the meantime we figured we’d make jam.

Plum Jam

We used about 54 plums and turned them into four pints of DELICIOUS jam. Here’s the recipe:

plums

  • 3 lb plums, washed and de-stoned
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  1. Fill a canning pot with enough water to cover the jars with an inch or two of water.
  2. Heat the water, with the clean jars and lids inside to sterilize them. It takes a while to heat this much water, so best to get it going before you start on the fruit.
  3. Combine all ingredients in a pot over high heat.
  4. Bring to a boil, mashing with a potato masher.
  5. Stir frequently until the mixture clings to a spoon and falls off slowly (about 15 minutes).
  6. Spoon the hot mixture into jars, wiping the sides and rims with a clean cloth.
  7. Finger-tighten the lids.
  8. Lower the cans into the canner, and bring to a boil.
  9. Once the water is boiling, start your timer. We boiled them for 15 minutes (we live at an elevation of 6300 – less time is required for lower elevations).
  10. Remove jars and cool. Check the seal.
Mint Jelly

While we had the canner going, we also tried out some mint jelly, to fill up the space. We planted mint last year throughout the forest garden and it has taken over. It doesn’t actually die back completely in winter, but there is less, and I usually reserve it for cooking. So, we decided to try out a mint jelly recipe. It turned out great, and we can use it in the winter months on pancakes and the like, or just add it to water as a tea. If we had access to lamb, I would make mint sauce as well, as that was one of my favorite dishes when I lived in England (my grandmother, Pam, is an excellent cook and produced countless delicious meals, but her roast lamb with mint sauce was one of the best and holds very fond taste-memories).

mint

This recipe makes 2 half pint jars.

  • 3 cups, tightly packed, mint
  • 5 cups water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 tbsp low sugar pectin
  • 1/2 tsp butter
  1. Wash the leaves and stems, and crush or chop them finely.
  2. Add the mint and water to a pot and bring the mixture to a boil.
  3. Remove from heat, cover and let stand for 10 minutes.
  4. Strain off the the mint (using cheese cloth or nylon).
  5. Measure 4 1/2 cups of the tea and put it into a pot. If you want it to come out green, you can add two drops of food coloring.
  6. Mix a 1/4 cup of sugar with the pectin and add it to the tea. Mix well.
  7. Add the butter to reduce foaming.
  8. Bring the mixture to a rolling boil on high heat, stirring constantly.
  9. Add the rest of the sugar.
  10. Return to a rolling boil and boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  11. Pour into hot jars.
  12. Finger tighten lids and lower into the canner.
  13. Once the water is boiling, process for 10 – 15 minutes.

The kids have been so excited with all the jelly, and have wanted pancakes or biscuits every day. We had two half jars of jelly and jam, which went straight to the fridge instead of being canned – those jars are now empty, after only two days. We have had to explain to them that the purpose of canning is to save your produce for winter when there isn’t any fresh fruit – they are having trouble with the concept!

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