Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Plum crazy III

Are you sick of reading about beach plums yet? ;-) I think I ended up with about 6 quarts of plums after an hour or so of picking out at Sandy Hook on Sunday. I had no idea how many I'd need, so I just kept picking until my arm hurt from carrying the bucket, then I headed back. At home I washed and stemmed the plums and contemplated them for a while in the colander. I love the duskiness that clings to each plum, like dew.
Once they boiled for a while on the stove, the plums split and suddenly looked like cranberries. Kind of strange. I mashed them up a bit and then drained all of the juice out into a pryex bowl that wouldn't stain.
Sorry for the fuzzy photo. I was left with 7 cups of juice - I froze 3 cups and used just 4 in my recipe. I added a whopping 6 cups of sugar and a box of Sure-Jell pectin and cooked it for a bit on the stove and then jarred it up with my husband's help. There are eight 8 oz. jars on the kitchen counter and tonight I finally sampled some. I was happy to see that the jar had sealed properly, and the jelly had the proper consistency -not runny! I don't have any nice bread in the house so I spread a little on a Ritz cracker with some cream cheese. It's nice, but very sweet and doesn't have the tart *bite* that I expect from beach plum jelly. I need to adjust the recipe before the next batch, maybe add a bit of lemon juice or something.

Do the jelly-makers out there know if I can adjust the ratio of sugar without affecting the consistency of the jelly? I know there is some magic at work between the sugar and pectin ratio, but don't quite understand it.

13 comments:

Susan Gets Native said...

Sorry, sweets, the only jelly I have ever made is in my knees.
It looks so rich and the color makes me hungry.

NatureWoman said...

Yum, now I'm craving some jelly. I love making jam and jelly, but have always followed the recipes that come with Certo.

Sandy said...

No, I am not tired of plum shots. Yours are very good.

My jelly always comes out too sweet. And, I don't think you are supposed to change the portions on the sugar, but what about adding more lemon juice?

silverlight said...

Yum, jelly on toast with sour cream.
But a cracker is just fine if that's what you have.

Endment said...

You have set my lips to craving plum jelly ....

Anonymous said...

Yum! Put on the coffee- I'll be right over!


Lynne
http://hastbrook.blogspot.com?

Deb said...

I have not tried it yet, but Pomona's brand pectin allows you to vary the amount of sugar used, or even make sugar free jellies. Most grocery stores don't carry it; I found some at a local natural foods store.

Which reminds me, I still have blueberry jam to make, and crabapples to pick! The plum juice looks so rich and red.

Jill said...

I have only made pepper jelly and some batches came out "jelly" while others came out as syrup. I know stick to just candied jalapenos. But that doesn't really help you, does it.

Great job on the jelly. There are lots of sites out there, I am sure you will find the information you need.

LauraHinNJ said...

I brought a jar into work the other day and it quickly disappeared. Everyone said it was very good, but none had ever had beach plum jelly before - most had never heard of a beach plum, even.

I think it's a bit too sweet - I would rather taste the fruit and not so much sugar.

I'm going to talk to the park ranger that gave me the recipe about changing it up a bit, maybe adding some lemon juice or trying out a different brand of pectin that will allow for less sugar.

Overall, I'd say for my first attempt at jelly-making I did pretty good!

Sharon said...

My much younger cousin learned to blend tart cranberries with her beach plum, in part to add depth of flavor, and in part to reduce the need to gather beach plums! Perhaps you could try that option. Her blend is a lovely addition to the Thanksgiving board.

LauraHinNJ said...

Sounds delicious, Sharon! Thanks for the suggestion.

Would frozen cranberries do? For some reason it is hard to find fresh cranberries here (Yes, the Pine Barrens of NJ are the cranberry capital of the world, I think, but no fresh cranberries in the market!)

I've looked for the fresh as a treat for the bunnies also.

Sharon said...

Frozen cran's simmer into a nicely tight whole berry sauce in simple syrup (sugar:water), so I would experiment with reasoned hope.

You might make tart whole cran sauce and incorporate some, cooled, into your prepared beach plum jam. I have stirred marmalade into cooked cran sauce with success.

Your amalgam should transform nicely. Cook's fingers crossed!

Anonymous said...

I know this thread is 2 years old, but my recipe for beach plum jelly calls for 1 cup of green plums for every 4 cups of ripe, and a cup of sugar for every cup of juice you get from processing the plums. The green plums eliminate the need for pectin. Hope this helps!