Thursday, May 29, 2014

I Made Jam! Maybe.

I've never made jam before.  Ever.  I've never canned anything by myself either, though I helped my mom can things when I was a kid.  But this is fridge canning, not "actual" canning, so this kinda doesn't count, I don't think.  But I did make jam.  At least, I hope it's jam.

Okay, let me back up.  Our first spring here at Tir Asleen, we discovered that the tree right in front of our house is magnificent.  It's a cherry-plum tree, which means it produces gorgeous flowers.


And then it produces fruit which are technically plums, but they're the size of cherries.  And very tart.  I like tart things.  So that first spring, I said, "I will make jam from these some day!"  But I had a little baby at the time, and couldn't find the time to even harvest the cherry-plums.


The next spring, which was last spring, we didn't get much rain, and our tree didn't flower a lot.  Didn't produce much fruit either.  So again, no harvesting.  I began to despair of ever enjoying more than the occasional tart morsel from that tree.


But this year, we got lots of blossoms, lots of fruit!  So the kids and I picked cherry-plums for a couple of hours one morning, and I would guesstimate we picked about 12 cups of them.  Maybe closer to 14.  We filled a whole gallon Ziploc bag and then started in on another.  And finally, finally my dream of jam could become a reality!


I found this recipe and set off on my jam-making adventure.  It took me two hours of steady work, plus the help of one small mouse who helped me remove stems before cooking, but I turned those cherry-plums above into the seven jars of jam below.


They're still cooling, and then I'll have to put them in the fridge until they're thoroughly cold, but it looks like jam to me!  Woo!

Also, I made Cherry-Plum and Blackberry Cobbler yesterday.  You can find the recipe here on my recipe blog.

Cobbler?  More like Gobbler, the way my kids attacked it.

16 comments:

  1. Go you! That looks ridiculously tasty. :) Mom and I use the freezer jam these days because, it IS so easy. Anything to make the preserving life simpler, we go for.

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    1. Yes, I don't really want to buy all the canning paraphernalia just to do a batch of jam now and then -- so freezer jam is my friend for sure! I can't wait to try this for breakfast on toast tomorrow :-9

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    2. Yay! I'm so proud of you! And with 3 little kids to boot. Wish I could have breakfast with you tomorrow, and the next day. Bet that jam won't last long!

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    3. Thanks! I'm pretty pleased myself. As for how long the jam will last, that all depends on if anyone but me likes it. The kids may say it's not sweet enough, or something.

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  2. That's so awesome! I remember when I was younger, we had a few wild yellow plum trees. My parents made jam with them summer day and it made the whole house feel like a furnace. But it was a lot fun. We did it with blackberries once too.

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    1. We had plum trees when I was a kid too, but they never yielded enough plums to make anything.

      I lucked out -- we had a cold front come through last night, and it was only in the 60s here today! Perfect for standing over a stove for an hour. It also helped that I didn't truly can the jam, so none of that boiling water and so on. I remember helping my mom can corn and grapes and other things as a kid, and the kitchen was like a sauna. Yuck!

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  3. That's terrific! You will be enjoying the fruit (no pun intended) of your labor for many months to come!!

    We bought the house we are in in November 2005. It had 19 fruit trees at the time (now, we have 15). Anyhow, that first summer was a banner year for every tree. 5 of the trees are cherry trees....do you have any idea how many cherries you get from 5 fully-loaded cherry trees? Seems like ten million. Anyhow, I made some freezer jam, but I also tried my hand at traditional canning. I probably made 9 dozen jars of jam, and I still have some of it in my pantry. I also canned pitted cherries and sliced peaches.

    Anyhow, kudos to you. You did a great job...well, you and your little helpers.

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    1. Considering how many cherry-plums we got from just casually picking what we could reach with an average step-ladder, you must have been drowning in cherries from five trees!

      We tried out the jam this morning, and all agreed it's super yummy! However, I totally cooked it too long, and it's almost as stiff as a fruit roll-up! However, a couple seconds in the microwave make it acceptably spreadable. I'll know better next time!

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  4. That looks delicious! You're lucky you've got the tree right there in your yard. I remember making strawberry jam with my mom when I was younger. We would turn about 30-40 pounds of berries into jam over the course of a very long "jamming" day, biut it was so worth it. We'd have just enough jam for the next full year.

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    1. I know! My very first fruit tree. We planted a peach tree in the back yard last year, and are hoping to get some peaches from it this year. So far it's looking promising!

      Mmmm, strawberries are my favorite. Some day I'll take my kids strawberry picking and make jam of those too!

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  5. Woo hoo indeed! Nicely done. ;) Love the mini jam jars and the cobbler looks delicious!

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    1. Aren't those the cutest jars? I love them! They hold a whole cup, but are so adorable.

      The cobbler was great! The jam... is too thick. I think I cooked it too long. I'll know better next time!

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  6. It looks so yummy! Great job! Someday I'll get on the jam train...

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    1. It's very tasty :-D I'm on the jam train for good now!

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  7. Gorgeous pictures and the jam looks delicious!! Sometimes it's easy to forget in the work and forethought it takes--but isn't it such a delightful satisfaction to follow something all the way through from blossom to fruit to harvest to jars to pulling it all out "ready-made" for the table? :-)

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    1. Thanks! It IS delicious :-9 Too thick, but delicious. And yes, I think one of the things I like best about cooking, baking, crocheting, doing carpentry, etc, is that I appreciate the end results so much more because I know what went into making them.

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