Sunday 21 February 2010

Serendipitous Plum Jam

Serendipity and blogging is a wonderful thing. A chance comment can lead to a superb plum jam. Another blogger can tidy up their blog and give some direction on where to make changes and suddenly I am away on my blog housekeeping again.

Firstly the jam. I love comments and often discover wonderful new blogs through comments. Admittedly I sometimes don’t have time to follow up new bloggers but I do so as much as I can. A few weeks ago, I had a lovely comment from Kitchen Butterfly. I visited her blog and found it a joy to explore. I loved her post on ‘if Rudyard Kipling was a foodie’ and then I found her Plum post. As it happened, I had over ripe plums sitting in my kitchen as I read all her wonderful ideas for what to do with plums. I decided to try her simple plum jam recipe.

Last year I tried a peach and pineapple jam. It never set and tasted far too sweet. I don’t eat jam really regularly and decided I should stick to chutneys. In fact, I only finished up the jam in January, a year after I made it. But I do have a great love of the dark depths of a jar of plum jam.

This jam was so quick easy and delicious that it has made me reconsider making jam. Everything went right. There wasn’t too much scum so I didn’t bother scooping it out. The jam wrinkled on the saucer so nicely as soon as I tried it. It even coped when Sylvia kept me from checking it and I had to just tell E to turn off the gas flame until I could look at the consistency. And when I tipped it into the jars, I wished for a funnel that folded up into a drawer. When I searched for one, lo and behold I found one. I reduced the sugar a little and that worked fine too in keeping it from being too sweet.

If only every recipe worked so well. And it turned inedible plums into a gorgeous deep purple jam. It is so nice to have home made jam about the house. We are halfway through the second jar already. It was also helpful to be able to read my previous post about jam for tips (mainly on what not to do).

When the blogosphere delivers it is a beautiful thing. Not only did it help me with my jam but yesterday I saw that Nupur had tidied up her blog. She mentioned that she had been using the new Blogger Edit Pages function. I had seen it but not understood what it meant until I saw Nupur’s great new menu under her header. I am easily distracted with such diversions. Immediately I looked up this function and have started to rearrange my key information pages.

This will be an ongoing project, alongside so many others, but I think that already it is quite helpful to have links up there. I am going to move my blogroll there. I don’t update it as much as I should so this is an opportunity to do so. But it makes me sad to see links to bloggers who are no longer updating their blog. I worry they might return and so I don’t want to delete their link but I also worry that the list gets too long. So it will take me a while.

I have also started a new page on kudos as a way to acknowledge some of the lovely awards other bloggers have given me. Which reminds me that I still intend to do a post on the Happy 101 Award that Tanna and Katie have given me.

Let me know if you have any feedback on the new pages that are going up under my header. I think it is a more prominent place but it means archiving my indexes etc and opening up new pages that do not allow for comments. As I said at the start of this post, I love comments and can get a lot of connections and information from them as well as some warm and fuzzy feelings. So keep them coming and I look forward to more serendipity.

Plum Jam
Adapted from the Australian Women’s Weekly via Kitchen Butterfly
Makes 2 small jars

  • 8 dark plums (Butterfly says 9 or about 1kg)
  • 1½ cups water
  • juice of ½ a lemon or about 2 tbsp
  • about 1½ cups caster sugar
Roughly chop plums and discard stones. Put plums and water in a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce heat, cover pan and simmer for about 45 minutes. (NB my plums were very soft so if yours are less ripe you may need an hour like Butterfly.)

Add lemon juice and sugar, stirring over gentle heat without boiling, till the sugar dissolves. Butterfly suggests you start sterilising jars now. (I just boiled some water, poured it on the jars and then briefly let them dry on a rack.)

Boil uncovered, stirring occasionally for about 15-20 minutes or until jam jells when tested! (I did what Nigella suggests and put it in the freezer for 5 minutes, took it out and pushed my finger through it and it wrinkled so I took it off the heat.)

Spoon hot jam into hot jars. Seal, cool and label. Enjoy!

On the stereo:
Greatest hits: Leonard Cohen


  1. Oh, I do love plums and I like that you made this jam not too sweet. I often seem to buy interesting jams, open them, and then forget about them, though... But then they make good additions to bread and butter puddings when the excess-purchased-food-guilt strikes!

    I do like the easily-accessible links up the top. Messing around with blog settings terrifies me, though!

  2. I love plum jam.........but you know that! Thanks for the shout out.

  3. This is such a great post! Someday I'll have to give the plum jam recipe a try. I love plums and the idea of smearing that purple jam over toast or pancakes seems heavenly.

  4. Now I can't wait for summer - a long wait. I do hope our plum crop is a keeper. I'm intrigued by a funnel that folds up. Hmmm...must be on look-out for one.

    I saw Nupur's talk-up on Blogger pages via Twitter. I agree - pretty cool and about time!

  5. plum jam! wow! I will gotta look if there are any plums around at the moment. my summer disappears a little too quickly with all the moving.

  6. I always thought you couldn't put pineapple in things like that because it makes things not set? I know you can't put pineapple or kiwi in jelly or it doesn't set? Have I made that up? Possibly why your first jam was too runny......

    Love your blog though!

  7. That sounds really delicious! I have never really cooked with plums, but I am thinking that I might have to start! This looks delicious! And I love serendipitous blogging!

  8. Thanks Hannah - messing with html terrifies me too - but I am getting bolder - although still have problems at time where I don't have a clue what is happening - and as for jams - there are so many I want to buy but I resist mostly because I know I forget them

    Thanks Kitchen Butterfly - so glad to find I share your love of plum jam

    Thanks Jaime - after scientific research I can confirm that this jam is lovely on toast or pancakes :-)

    Thanks Susan - the folding funnel is great for when you want to squish it in a drawer because you have no room in the kitchen

    Thanks Anh - I think plums are one of the last stone fruits to disappear so you may have a chance to love some plums yet

    Thanks Clare - my mum told me the same thing about pineapple when I told her about the jam making disaster - I am no jam expert but the hit and miss experiments are helping me learn

    Thanks Jenn - I don't cook with plums often enough but have made amends for this a little this summer - it has convinced me I must cook with them even more

  9. Your blog pages look excellent! I am so glad Blogger introduced this functionality.
    I know what you mean by blogs that are no longer updating- I miss some of my favorites and always hope they are doing well in real life.
    My biggest challenge with organizing my blog is getting the recipe index arranged in a more user friendly way.

  10. Thanks Nupur - glad you like them, it is much easier to make with the pages - though I know what you mean about trying to organise a recipe index in a user friendly way - makes me wish I had more blog know how

  11. I love plum jam--as you said, I find it not too sweet, yet thick and just delicious. I also love all the new headers--congrats on so many awards, and the Gourmet50! I think people love to be able to click on those categories from the top of the page for some reason--looks really good!

  12. Thanks Ricki - I was amazed to find there were quite a few awards and I am not sure I have found them all - makes me think I need to give a few back - and I think the top of the page is more in your face so that is helpful if people are looking for such links


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