Orange Plum Preserves

Back in the day when I was an Earth Mother – and I have the pictures to prove it: portly frame sitting between rows of tomatoes and squash…anyway, back in the day, I did all sorts of canning and preserving. There were peach preserves with rum, cherry conserve with walnuts. I stored them in the basement, and gave the little jars as gifts with fancy labels and calico wrapped around their tops.  I still have the canner stored downstairs.

But this time, I didn’t feel like fussing with the canner, and I wanted to use up as many plums as possible. So I experimented with refrigerator jam.  It made about 5 cups of jam. I put it in little one cup containers.  I gave two to friends, froze two for later, and used one up. I put it on toast and bagels, stirred it into my oatmeal, and even used a spoonful or two as a glaze on chicken. It is actually kind of jewel like in color – although it didn’t photograph particularly well.

Most of the recipes I looked at to get ideas called for 3-4 cups of sugar. I reduced it to 2 cups, and it was still very, very sweet.

Orange Plum Preserves

4 pounds ripe Italian/prune plums, pitted and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup orange juice
2 cups sugar
3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 Tablespoons orange zest (confession – I used dried grated orange peel from a bottle)

Combine plums and orange juice in a heavy pan, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, 20 minutes or until plums are tender. Stir in sugar, lemon juice, and zest. Cook over medium heat 40 minutes, until thick or a candy thermometer reaches 210°. Stir mixture occasionally. (Do not overcook or mixture will scorch.) NOTE: My mixture took more like and hour and a half to get to 210. You really need to keep stiring frequently as it begins to thicken or it definitely will scorch and you’ll have to throw it all out. I lowered the heat toward the end. I also found that the candy/jelly thermometer was really the way to go, as I couldn’t judge if it was thick enough. Remove from heat and cool. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or freeze.  This has no fat.

plum jam

And that, my dear, is finally the end of the plums!


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I have lost 200 pounds. I did not do it through surgery – I don’t like knives and needles – or by joining a club, vigorous exercise, or rigorous dieting. I did it by gourmet cooking. To be precise, by cooking low fat, really delicious food. I love to cook as much as I love to eat. Food magazines are some of my favorite reading. I would feel deprived if I couldn’t have the sensuous experience of good food crossing my lips. This blog is about my perpetual feast, my passionate love of food, with recipes, photos, and occasional advice and principles that I have learned along the way.

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