Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Plum Sage Jam

Jars of Plum Jam with a sprig of sage.

Bits of fruit and sage are visible in the jam spread on a slice of bread.

Back in June we went on a family vacation/reunion.  We met up with my two sisters-in-law and their families near Yosemite National Park in northern California.  Jeanne brought vegetables (zucchini, tomatoes, onions and peppers) from her garden.  She also brought apricots, nectarines and plums from her in-laws’ orchard.  I brought home fruit that we didn’t eat and promptly froze them.  Since then I’ve made several batches of jam.  But there’s still almost an entire shelf of fruit in our freezer so I decided to use some today.
I decided to make something a little different by adding an herb.  Now, I’m not usually enamored of sweet and savory together so I was curious how this would turn out.  I got the idea upon watching Giada De Laurentis make a berry jam with thyme.  But I think I hit the jackpot when I stumbled on a blog called Northwest Edible Life by Erica.  She has a downloadable Signature Jam Flavor Maker Chartwhich suggests pairing different kinds of fruit with herbs, spices and liquor.  Since I was using plum today I chose sage as the flavor to pair with.  Erica’s chart says to use ¼ tsp of “dry zing” (her term for dry flavor additives).  But since I was using 4 lbs of fruit and 8 cups of sugar I thought I could stand to use more.
Here is the recipe for Plum Sage Jam:
6 cups prepared fruit (about 4 lb. fully ripe plums)
1/2 cup water
1 box SURE-JELL Fruit Pectin
1/2 tsp. butter or margarine
8 cups sugar, measured into separate bow (See tip below.)
2-3 tsp. minced fresh sage
Bring boiling-water canner, half-full with water, to simmer. Wash jars and screw bands in hot soapy water; rinse with warm water. Pour boiling water over flat lids in saucepan off the heat. Let stand in hot water until ready to use. Drain well before filling.
Pit plums. Do not peel. Finely chop or grind fruit. Place fruit in saucepan; add water. Bring to boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 5 min. Measure exactly 6 cups prepared fruit into 6- or 8-qt. saucepot.
Stir pectin into fruit in saucepot. Add butter to reduce foaming. Add sage.  Bring mixture to full rolling boil (a boil that doesn't stop bubbling when stirred) on high heat, stirring constantly. Stir in sugar. Return to full rolling boil and boil exactly 1 min., stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim off any foam with metal spoon.
Ladle immediately into prepared jars, filling to within 1/8 inch of tops. Wipe jar rims and threads. Cover with two piece lids. Screw bands tightly. Place jars on elevated rack in canner. Lower rack into canner. (Water must cover jars by 1 to 2 inches; add boiling water if needed.) Cover; bring water to gentle boil. Process 10 min. Remove jars and place upright on a towel to cool completely. After jars cool, check seals by pressing middles of lids with finger. (If lid springs back, lid is not sealed and refrigeration is necessary.)
How to Measure Precisely
To get exact level cup measures of sugar, spoon sugar into dry metal or plastic measuring cups, then level by scraping excess sugar from top of cup with a straight-edged knife.
This recipe (adapted from the Kraft website) yielded 8 8-oz jars, and 7 4-oz jars of jam, or roughly 92 oz of jam.  Plum jam makes a lovely spread with its jewel color.  In the picture above you can see bits of fruit and minced sage.  The taste is fantastic!  There’s  tartness from the plums and sweetness from the sugar, and then the hint of sage in the background.  The sage is mild enough as to not overpower the rest of the flavors.  Yes, I think I’m definitely on to something here.
What flavors would you pair together? 

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