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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Easiest Jam Recipe Ever

Last Sunday my alarm went off because I didn't want to miss the "Preserve It!" demos at the Good Food Festival in Santa Monica.  Like always, I hit the snooze button, snoozed some more, hit the button again, snoozed some more, then turned off the alarm altogether and thought fugetaboutit I'm going to keep snoozing.  But then something amazing happened.  I woke up on my own, and since there was still time to brush off the dust, hop in the car, and get to the Fest, that's just what I did.  And boy am I glad I did and now you will be too.

Valerie with Steamin' Jam
The first demo was by Valerie Gordon of Valerie Confections.  Famous for her chocolates, and her baked goods, Valerie is doing the same thing with jams. While I've made jams and pickled veggies, I needed an infusion of inspiration to get my big beautiful blue canning pot out of the pantry and onto the stove.  To my good fortune, Valerie demo'd the easiest jam recipe ever to remind me how simple it is.

Example Pot of Jam
How simple could it be?  Well, what about 5 pounds of plums (no peeling required), 2 pints of blackberries (my idea), and 3 1/2 cups of sugar.  Cube the plums, put everything in a largish, heavyish pot, and cook on medium heat about 30 minutes to start to break down the fruit, then cook another 20-30 minutes on high heat to jam it all up.

While this is happening, fill a really large pot with water, so the water will cover the jars with at least 2" of headroom, until the water is boiling.  Also be sure you have a rack or steamer basket for the bottom of the pot, to lift the jars off the bottom when processing, allowing the boiling water to surround the jars.

Take your new canning jars (you'll need 8 half-pints), lids, and rings, and wash them in hot, soapy water.  Then put the jars only in the boiling water for about 5 minutes, remove to your towel covered counter, and dry these off.

Ladle the jam into each jar, leaving about 1/4" at the top, wipe the rim clean, then put on the lid and ring and twist shut.  Put the jars in the rack or lower the jars onto the steamer basket in the boiling water.  This is where a jar lifter would really come in handy, but if you don't have one, carefully use tongs.  Leave the jars in the boiling water for 20 minutes, then even more carefully remove them from the pot and onto the towel covered counter.  Gently wipe any remaining water off the jars and leave on the counter overnight.

Within just a few minutes of placing your jars on the counter you will hear this little ping.  Then another one, and so on.  That's the sound of your jam saying good job.  One last thing is the next day use your thumb to push on the lid and when nothing happens - Congratulations, you have just made your very own, homemade, easiest jam ever plum & blackberry jam.  Not only is this a great jam for putting over a schmear of goat cheese on an English muffin, but it's very tasty with vanilla ice cream, and I'm sure you will find many other ways to use this tart, tasty, fruit, easy jam.  Yes we can!


  1. The jam looks so beautiful on the English muffin. Bravo to you for going to the demo instead of staying in bed.

    Love your ending sentence, too!

  2. Great idea adding the blackberries. The color is gorgeous. What kind of plums did you use--were they red inside?

    "cook another 20-30 minutes on high heat to jam it all up" - This sounds so much easier for novices than doing elaborate tests of the jell point, etc.

    Also, if someone doesn't have canning equipment, do you think it would work to make a small batch and keeping it refrigerated?

  3. Faye, thanks so much for the comments. The reason I added the blackberries was because the plums I had were light fleshed and I wanted a more intense red/purple color. This is a great recipe for beginners or people like me who had lost their will to can but now are born again! Absolutely, no water bathing needed and a batch will stay delicious in the frige for at least a couple of weeks, probably longer.

  4. Hello Nancy rose! trying to get your email to send a evite for a craft party. if you get a chance convo me your email. thanks so much!! love the jam !!

  5. Hi FJM,
    Reach me via e-mail @
    Craft party - yipee!