Friday, July 15, 2011

We Be Jammin', Mon!

First Tomato of the Season! Yippee-Skippy!!!

Okay, more "catching up" to do!

So... July 8 was the day I harvested my Very First Tomato (Yayyy!!!). It was teeny, but it was GOOOOOD!!!

And, of course, I've been harvesting plums 'til I'm about ready to puke! Last weekend, I put on my "Suzie Home-maker" Hat (or "Molly Mormon" as D likes to say!) and I made some Plum Jam. I, unfortunately, did not write down the recipe (sorry!), but I *did* take pictures thru the process, so I'll share them here!

I basically "mostly followed" the recommendations that came with the Pectin (Ball Freezer-Jam Pectin). I had to go w/Freezer Jam because my Ceramic Cooktop Stove (no, not the Fancy Schmantzy "Induction" style) can't generate enough heat to boil the quantity of water I'd need to properly sterilize jars for conventional jamming. FWIW - I do have a Propane Cajun Cooker I could have used, but last weekend our temps topped the Century mark and there was no effin' way I was gonna stand outside making jam in 100*+ temps!

Anyway, I started with 3-1/2 # of plums - expecting 10 jars of jam - so I mostly followed their recipe. I did cut back the qty of Splenda (3 cups for 10 jars - I think I might go even less, next time) and water (1 cup), and I added Cinnamon (3/4 tsp - but I think 1/2 tsp - or even less - would be better) (Cinnamon really does add a nice little "punch" to the jam, though!). They do have a website that sort of "guides you along" here

You'd have thought I would have remembered - from the last time I made Plum Jam - that it's a buttload of work! The making of the jam itself isn't too bad - it's the Plum-Prep that's the killer! You need to clean 'em, peel 'em (blanching helps!), chop 'em up, pit 'em (they are *not* freestone!), then cook and mash 'em (cooking and mashing's not so bad - just don't overcook 'em like I did!).

But bottom line: It really does make a helluva mess!

3-1/2 # of Plums - Destined to be Jam!

Plum-Prep: "Bubble, Bubble, Toil and Trouble!"

Blanching the Plums. You basically toss 'em (appx 5-6 at a time) into a vat o boiling water 'til the skins start to peel off.

Nekkid Fruit ("Hide the Children!!!")

De-pitted and chopped. They're a little too firm for mashing. They need to be cooked a bit.

This is the stage where you're supposed to STOP COOKING them and take 'em off the stove. Unfortunately, I left them on a little too long and they turned to mush. :::sigh:::

Yield: 8 x 8 oz. jars of Jam and a Sink-Full of Dirty Dishes

It only took me about an hour, though. And the jam is "Pretty Okay." Splenda seems to work better w/Strawberry and Strawberry-Rhubarb jams. Can't say I am overly thrilled with Splenda Plum Jam - but since I *can't* have the Real-Deal, I'll just have to deal with it!

Heh - I offered to drag out my dehydrator and make prunes for hubbie (since he's - ahem - "More Mature" than I, and seems inordinately fixated on his fiber intake) but he declined my most generous offer - claiming that prunes didn't provide the "right kind" of fiber. Hmph!

So I am *still* pawning-off plums on friends and neighbors (left an anonymous bagful on my neighbor's porch today!) . I've even resorted to emailing fellow bloggers and BEGGING them to take some plums off my hands!!!

Annnnnd... Added Bonus: In today's Farm-Share Delivery - guess what they included??? FREAKING PLUMS!!

Look! More PLUMS!!!

On the Bright Side: Plum harvest is *almost* complete. However, Peaches are coming up next!!!

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