Rich Red Plum Jam Recipe

Photograph: Jennifer Latham

This is a beautiful jewel-red jam with a perfect balance of sweet and tart. Putting half of the fruit through a food mill and leaving the other half in quarters makes for a rustic textured jam. An overnight maceration gives you a head-start on the jamming process. It's a great jam to pair with fresh, creamy cow's milk cheeses like ricotta.

Why this recipe works:

  • An overnight maceration with sugar extracts the fruit's juices and gets a jump start on the jamming process, which cuts the cooking time and preserves more of the fresh-fruit flavor.
  • Passing half the fruit through a food mill and the other half not creates a rich, silky base for the jam while still maintaining rustic, textured chunks.

This recipe is adapted from The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook by Rachel Saunders.

Recipe Facts

Active: 90 mins
Total: 9 hrs 30 mins
Serves: 96 servings
Makes: 12 half-pint jars

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  • 5 pounds large red-fleshed plums, such as Elephant Hearts, halved and pitted

  • 2 pounds white cane sugar, divided

  • 2 ounces (4 tablespoons) fresh juice from 2 lemons


  1. Divide plums halves into two equal portions. In a non-reactive mixing bowl, mix first group of plum halves with 1 pound 4 ounces of sugar. Cut the remaining plum halves in half to make quarters. In a separate bowl, mix plum quarters with remaining 12 ounces sugar. Cover both bowls tightly and let stand at room temperature overnight.

  2. In a large pot, scrape plum halves along with any sugar and syrup and cook over medium heat, stirring only enough to prevent scorching, until softened, about 15 minutes. Pass plum halves through a food mill fitted with the smallest-hole plate; scrape any plum left on the mill into the plum puree. Mix plum puree into quartered plums and stir in lemon juice.

  3. Thoroughly wash 12 half-pint canning jars and their lids. If you plan to process the jam for shelf-stable storage, prepare a water bath and sterilize the jars as described in our canning guide. Set several metal spoons on a plate in the freezer. Scrape plum mixture into a wide jamming pot.

  4. Heat plum mixture over medium-high heat, stirring as needed to prevent scorching, until jam starts to foam, about 15 minutes. Continue to cook, stirring minimally and lowering the heat if necessary to prevent scorching, until foaming has subsided, about 15 minutes longer; scrape any foam off jam surface with a stainless steel spoon as needed. Continue to cook after foaming has subsided until bubbling has slowed and jam looks glossy, 5 to 15 minutes; lower heat as necessary to prevent scorching.

  5. When plum quarters have broken down and jam has thickened, begin testing for doneness: Turn off heat and set a small spoonful of jam in the freezer for 5 minutes. Jam is ready once it holds together and doesn't run off the spoon when tilted. If jam is too runny, return to heat and cook, stirring frequently and repeating the spoon test every 5 minutes, until jam passes test.

  6. Transfer jam into prepared canning jars and wipe any jam from the rims. To store in refrigerator, simply place lids on jars, screw on rings, and let cool completely at room temperature before refrigerating. To process jam for shelf-stable storage, bring water bath to a rolling boil. Place lids on jars and screw on rings until they are snug but not overly tight. Carefully lower jars into boiling water bath and process for 10 minutes. Remove jars and let cool completely at room temperature. Unprocessed jam can be refrigerated for a couple of months; Processed jam can be stored in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year.

Special Equipment

Kitchen scale, large wide-bottomed pot, food mill, rubber spatula, 2 mixing bowls

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Nutrition Facts (per serving)
47 Calories
0g Fat
12g Carbs
0g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 96
Amount per serving
Calories 47
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 0mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 12g 4%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 12g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 2mg 12%
Calcium 1mg 0%
Iron 0mg 0%
Potassium 37mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)