I was inspired by this small batch canning recipe on Simple Bites but, true to form, did some minor adjustments using my Ball Canning Book as a basis for a lower sugar form. I also doubled this recipe since we had so. many. plums.
When you’re harvesting from a tree that is literally glowing in the sun with an abundance of fruit, you come home with BUCKETS. 🙂 And as welcome the plums were, I needed to can them while they were still fresh.
You don’t need a lot of canning supplies for this recipe because it only takes jars (with rings and lids), jar lifter, and a water bath canner large enough to hold your jars. A funnel is a help and a headspace tool is a help, but not necessary. See some of my favorite canning resources (Note – some links are affiliate links).
- 8 Cups Plums, Chopped into chunks (we did not peel them)
- 2 Cups of Sugar
- 1/2 Cup Lemon Juice
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
These plums were wild plums and rather on the tart side compared to commercial plums so I did use some sugar still but I greatly decreased the sugar from the original recipe given. Because sugar helps the preserves gel up, I used the natural pectin in lemon juice to help make sure everything gelled nicely and also help preserve the gorgeous, rich color of the plums.
I also added cloves to this recipe which I stole from one of the Ball Canning plum butter recipes. I thought if we’re going to make spiced plum preserves we should use more than one spice, eh?
Directions for Making Spiced Plum Preserves:
- Prep – Sterilize your jars and lightly simmer your lids to clean everything well. Wash the plums, remove the pits (and any bruised or yucky spots), and chop the plums into chunks. Mine were about the size of the four square legos.
- Fight off any children hovering around the kitchen begging for plum-bites. Then combine your chopped plums, the sugar, and the lemon juice in a large pan and bring it to a boil. Keep stirring as you wait and the plums will get juicy and the whole mess will begin to bubble in a nice, full boil.
- Lower the heat a smidge but keep it at a boil and add your spices. Stirring regularly, continue to cook the fruit mixture for approximately 20 minutes. The whole thing will get more juicy as the fruit dissolves, and then thicken as it cooks down.
- When the plum mixture is thickening, scoop it, still hot, into the prepared jars. I found a headspace suggestion in Yes, You Can food preservation book for basic jams and preserves of 1/4 inch headspace, so that’s what we used with good success.
- When the jars are loaded wipe off the top rim of the jar, place lids on and loosely-tighten the rings. I usually give the rings a quick spin and let them settle where they stop – if you over tighten the rings before processing you’ll not get a good seal on your jars.
- Place the prepared jars into the water bath canner with at least an inch of water over the top of the jars. Turn the heat on high and once the water is boiling start your timer for 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes of boiling in the water bath canner remove the jars of plum preserves (use a jar lifter!) and set them on a cooling rack or towel to cool. Be sure to leave at least an inch between the sides of the jars to allow good air flow between them.
You should hear the jars going ping, ping, ping as the lids seal up. After 12 hours check the seals and if any jars failed to seal (we didn’t have any fail!) you can store it in the fridge and eat it first. The rest can be stored in a cool, dark place and enjoyed through the winter when fresh fruit is scarce! YUM!
This recipe made 7 half-pint jars of spiced plum preserves for us.