Thursday, September 15, 2011
This was my first go-around with plum jam so I turned to an expert to see how it's done. I used Marisa from Food in Jars method and ratio here, just switching up the spices to use what I had on hand, cinnamon and cardamom, then threw in a vanilla bean from my stash. I bought a pound of vanilla beans a few months ago and I love being able to fancy up desserts and preserves with them. I guess I didn't have very high hopes for this simple jam because I was totally blown away by how much I loved it's sweet, tart and spiced notes. Slap some on toast or a scone and it tastes just like a delicious plum cobbler.
Spiced Plum Jam with Vanilla Bean
yield 3-4 half pints
5c chopped Italian plums
1 1/3c sugar
seeds from 6 cracked cardamom pods in a cheesecloth sack or tea strainer (you want to be able to remove the seeds before canning the jam)
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
3-4 sterilized half pint jars and lids
1. In a large bowl combine the plums, sugar, spices, vanilla bean seeds and pod and let sit for at least an hour, the plums will release their juices and the mixture will become very syrupy
2. When you are ready to cook, add the mixture to a large non reactive pot and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Boil the jam for 15-20 min, or until it passes the wrinkle test or if you like numbers you can cook it to 220º. Remove the vanilla bean pod and the cheesecloth or tea strainer with the cardamom seeds. Rinse off the vanilla bean and save it for another use like vanilla sugar or salt.
3. Pour the finished jam into clean sterilized jars and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
If you don't have the dollar bills to buy a whole pound of vanilla beans, split it with a few friends and you'll still have a ton of beans at your disposal. Depending on the variety, a pound is usually around 100 beans.