Monday, August 22, 2011

Plum Crazy

My mom used to do really goofy things in August. You know, those hot, humid, dog days of August when the best you can do is....roll over. Nope, not mom. Every year, on what seemed the the hottest, most impossible day, she would clean the attic. Or make pickles. Both are hot, sticky, miserable jobs. But she always said, "I'm already hot and sweaty. I might as well do the hottest jobs on the hottest days". There's mother wisdom for you.

Saturday the yellow plums were ripe. NOW! And I had a tree dripping with them. It was also 100 degrees. Taking mother wisdom to heart, I decided to make jam. I had already bought the jars and ingredients and was dying to use my old, french, copper confiture pot,  so I went at it. I Martha Stewarted away my steamy afternoon, trying not to sweat in my bubbling brew, and ended up with 2 batches of 6 jars each. The golden jam was just beautiful. I couldn't stop surveying my work and marveling at it's perfection.

The next morning, craving toast with jam, I opened a jar that hadn't sealed. It wasn't jam, it was syrup. Delicious syrup, but decidedly messy on a piece of toast. As were the rest of the jars. Back to the internet (where I had learned to make it in the first place) where most of the suggestions for this problem were.... use it for ice cream syrup.

I don't want ice cream syrup. This is my freezer.

Ice cream is not an option. Ice cubes aren't even an option.

So today I opened every jar, emptied them, rewashed, resterilized, and recooked the jam with a little additional pectin. This time it set. It might be golden, plum flavored cement by tomorrow....but by golly it won't be syrup.

So with all the waste and extra cooking, I've only got 8 jars now. And ants. But mom was right. Doing the hot jobs on the hot days really sort of erases the discomfort. I had a great day. I still have 6 pounds of plums. But it will be hot again tomorrow and I now I know what I did wrong. If it works tomorrow, I'll publish the recipe. And you can have the ants too, if you'd like.

Have a wonderful week!



  1. My plums were all over and finished by the end of July, I wonder why they were so much earlier than yours!! Diane

  2. Sounds like a fabulous (although sticky) day! Well done! :)

  3. Gorgeous color shot there! Ants...what about fruit flies? We have tons of them these days!

  4. Really, what could be better than ants and sticky plum sauce? You lead a life of such glamour.

    And, yes, that's jealousy talking.


  5. Mmmmmmm, why not have used plum syrup over sliced brioch for a wonderful 'french toast' treat? I give you credit girlfriend - that 'can do no matter what' spirit is inspiring!!!!

  6. No thanks to the ants, but your confiture looks marvelous. My mom and I made plum jam once and we overcooked it so it was very, very stiff. I think we still have some left. Bon appetit!

  7. Mmmm, looks so very yummy. The colour is so bright. (I would have it with fromage frais. Oh, it's so good!)

    When I make jam w/ my mom-in-law we use Confisuc. I believe it has the pectin already added. They give the measurement needed based on the type of fruit. There's a Confisuc for jams and one for jellies.

    I hope that your jam isn't cement.

  8. The same thing happened once when I made strawberry jam. It turns out I hadn't cooked it long enough. It did make great syrup !
    See you in 2 weeks !!!!!

  9. Diane- the tree is at the back of the house, very protected and not full sun. Maybe that's why. I don't's not my tree. I just profit from it!

    Loulou- We'll see how well done...tomorrow.

    Libby-yeah...fruit flies. they're just a given

    Mark-excuse me...leading fantastic cooking tours in Paris and Provence. I believe that would be glamour and I'm the one that is jealous!

    Holly-French toast...french toast...I had completely forgotten about french toast. Now I'm going to have to dilute the cement back to syrup. Merde!

    Paulita- I didn't cook it enough. Now I know. I think.

    Tanya- I used that....the sugar with the pectin added? I just don't think I cooked it long enough. I get another chance.

    Jeanmarie- I'll save the plums and we'll spend a whole afternoon over the hot stove trying to get it right!

  10. You are a better woman than I, Martha! When I realized what a hot day it was, I thought about cleaning the attic and about making jam, funny enough. Then I went swimming instead.

  11. Julie-and I was thinking about you all day. Because I knew you were at the pool and I wasn't. You don't get any plum cement!

  12. I keep wondering about making plum jam because they are so cheap at the moment (I don't have a handy tree to raid).

    And then I'm overcome with laziness and peel a grape instead. (jk)

    I did make jam in July after a trip to a pick-your-own farm. I didn't need to put extra pectin in because the red fruit contain tons already, so much that the jam is quite solid...

    Your post has got me thinking about plum jam now. Maybe I should have a go. :)

  13. I'll be making tomato soup to freeze, and tomato sauce and drying tomatoes. Guess what did really really well in my garden this year.

  14. Terro liquid is on its way (for those pesky ants) maybe I should bring a gross of it?

    I will so enjoy watching you and Jeanmarie make more jam.. I will even wipe your brows and fill your wine glasses !!

  15. Never mind! Also had the same probs with finding syrup instead of jam in the nineteen pots I made in the latest Orange Alert heatwave! Haven't revisited them yet. Am waiting for the weather to calm down a bit!

  16. Bonjour Delana,
    The jam certainly looks good - I tried this once and had the cement problem. Good to touch base again, glad to see all is going well with you!

  17. Your freezer made me laugh Delana!!
    definitely no room for ice-cream!
    The fruit in Provence is just so... juicy and sweet!
    Have a wonderful week and enjoy the sunshine!

  18. Make eau de vie with them.
    Start looking for an illicit distiller now...

  19. Laughing out loud at this post, Delana...and if it's any consolation, I have ants, too, but not a bit of jam OR syrup to show for them!

    Gorgeous pictures! Thanksfor sharing your cooking adventure with us! xo

  20. I have a problem with peach jam that I made 3 weeks ago. I should open the jars and do what you did, but I am a bit lazy.
    I am curious about your recipe. I am told that cooking fruit with a green apple helps with pectine. Did you know?


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