It’s finally the time of year when your produce market is overflowing with selection and variety, and the prices are half the usual… more affordable and much much tastier. Fruits are plumper, juicier, and perfect for preserving. The fruit I chose for today is a version of black plum, the large round ones with dark skin and pale yellow flesh. These plums are quite huge, and are incredibly juicy. Once you begin the cooking process the skins release their natural dye, turning everything that luscious crimson color. They have enough tang from the skins with a quick squeeze of lemon juice, so they’re perfect for a jam with a nice balance of sweet and sour.
I also purchased myself a new camera tripod this morning, to replace the dandy old $40 one that’s served me well over the past 4 years or so. A good run we had, but it’s time for an upgrade due to the loss of the camera attachment piece, which I cannot re-purchase (of course). But alas, this Manfrotto model here at a decent price with tight adjustment arms, solid clip extension legs, and optional wide leg spread which is necessary for these overhead aerial food shots. I realize the majority of my food photography these days is overhead. I like the vantage point, the way the light angle allows all the colors the pop and the full view of plate composition.
What are your favourite food photography styles, and what kinds of food preserve recipes have you got up your sleeve?! Sharing always welcome.
Pectin-Free Plum Jam: yields
1 kg fresh, in-season plums, washed + chopped
1 cup sugar
1 TB lemon juice
-Place all three ingredients in a large bottom pot and bring to a light boil (not a hard rolling boil). Once the mixture comes to a light boil and is gently bubbling all over: reduce the temperature to medium or medium low. Play around a little bit and set the heat to a temperature that is the lowest temp that still keeps the bubbling simmer going.
-You want to be able to simmer the mixture for quite some time, and keeping it at a high boil will just scorch the sugars. A long drawn out slow cook that is still bubbling is ideal.This will make the most of the natural pectin from the fruit and reduce the sugary liquid (natural thickening agents) – without burning.
-Simmer the mixture, being sure to stir often to prevent scorch on the bottom of the pot, for approx 30-40 mins. You will know the jam is ready when it’s nice and thick, and if you’re making a small batch such as this recipe it won’t take very long. I test the mixture for thickness by placing a blob of it on a plate and tossing it in the fridge for 5-10 mins. If the blob is thickened to your liking after chilled: it’s ready to come off the heat!
-You can jar up the jam for long term keeping using the canning techniques here, or you can just pour it into clean sterilized jars and keep refrigerated for a few weeks. I prefer this way, as I like to just make small batches anyways. Large batches require the extra time spent re-boiling the cans for proper sealing, as you want to keep the many jars in your pantry rather than clogging up precious fridge space! If you’re anything like us- you can’t afford fridge space waste, there’s too many important things in there!
-Keep in mind for this recipe you can adjust the sugar and lemon juice a bit to your liking. So long as the cooking process is in line with the procedure here, it will still work just fine. There’s no real right or wrong when it comes to level of sweetness or degree of thickness, it’s all just a personal preference.
Slather on something crispy and buttery. You won’t regret it.
Click the PayPal button below to donate to No Thyme to Waste, and help keep the good stuff comin’!