Japanese Blood Plums, or Satsuma plums, are weighing down the tree in the back corner of the yard and littering the ground beneath it. The flesh of the fruit is as purply, burgundy red as the name suggests, with a gorgeous tang that makes me love these more than any other sweet plum. We have all been enjoying them as snacks and deserts for the past week, and today I decided it was time to sort of “capture the moment” by making jam.
The bag pictured below represents only about half of the plums I collected, so I have plans to make more than one type of jam. I’m always looking for ways to add aromatics or seasonings to my food or drinks, which is in stark contrast to my husband’s preference for plain, honest flavours. I’m also fairly hopeless at following a recipe… I enjoy the experiment and I like to hope that I will therefore end up with a unique product.
For today’s jam session I was inspired by a number of recipes that combined plums with herbs. In particular I referenced Joy the Baker‘s brunch recipe with great accompanying photographs, learned from Kitchen Table Scraps‘ thorough recipe for jam and was distracted by the charming loveliness of Like a Strawberry Milk‘s post about French plums and idioms.
And my jam was honestly the most delicious, darkly sweet concoction I can remember eating. The roasting stage added depth in the same way that roasting pumpkin enhances and intensifies its natural flavour. But what did I actually do? Here’s my rough guide:
Roasted Plum Jam with Olive Oil and Thyme
(Makes 4 small to medium sized jars)
2tbsp olive oil
Handful of thyme
2.5 cups sugar
First I collected the plums, then I washed off the “waxy bloom” that gives them the white dusty appearance on the tree.
I halved them, removed the stones, and lay about 15 plums out in a baking tray, drizzled with olive oil and scattered with thyme sprigs.
The plums baked for about 25 minutes in an oven at 200C. After removing the plums I put my freshly washed jars into the oven to sterilise them for 15 minutes or so before turning the oven off so the jars could cool enough to be handled. I boiled the lids on the stovetop for a similar length of time.
The hot plums (including the sticky sticks of thyme) became a gloopy mixture once I poured them into a saucepan and added 2.5 cups of sugar and the juice of a lemon. After bringing the mixture to a boil I let simmer it for about half an hour. I removed the thyme and then used my hand-held blender to make the skins (which always made me grimace as a child) disappear and add body to the liquid. It was a thick, syrupy consistency by this stage.
I spooned the hot jam into the hot jars and placed them lid-down onto a cloth to create a vacuum seal.
I smeared remnants from the pot onto buttered bread for my husband whose critical response was simply “mmmm”.
Then I licked the spoon.