Today’s Jam is a Real Plum, Damson Plum with Cardamom

My poor Damson plums. Way back in September, I bought 2 overflowing quarts of the diminutive beauties, planning to make and freeze cobblers. Yum, right? Well, this was the Saturday before I was to leave for Michigan and, as luck would have it, there was no time for making cobbler before I left. No problem. I’d bring them to Michigan with me and make cobblers for Zia. The night before I was to leave, I placed the bag of plums on my dining table, along with some of the parts to my ice cream machine. A few hours later, I finished loading the car and left for Michigan. Once there, I realized I had left everything on the table. Poor Zia. She got neither cobbler nor ice cream during my last visit.

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Damson Plum Jam 2

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Upon my return home, as I unpacked the car I passed by that bag of plums a few times. I really wasn’t in any hurry to look inside, figuring it would be an unsightly mess, at best. So, once everything was unpacked, and with my laundry going, I decided to brave the bag and have a peek. Unbelievably, they were pretty much as I had left them. I dumped them into a colander and, though a few were smashed, none were spoilt. I discarded those that were smashed and rinsed the rest. Now, what to do with them?

Sadly, the cobbler idea had lost its appeal. Having brought home plenty of apples, there were pies and apple cake (recipe forthcoming) in my future and I just wasn’t interested in making cobbler anymore. (A decision I’m sure to regret this Winter.) That meant my long-neglected plums would be used to make jam.

Damson plums are smaller than others and their peel ranges from dark blue to black, some with a hint of deep purple. (Sorry, I forgot to photograph them fresh. See? Neglected.) The flesh is greenish-yellow and the pits adhere to that flesh, something you’ll need to consider when using them in a recipe. When it comes to taste, the flesh is somewhat sweet while the skin is a bit tart. For me, this makes Damson plums perfect for jam. Use a little sugar for a tart jam, more for a sweeter taste.

Today’s recipe is a basic jam and no pectin is required. The only questionable part is the addition of the cardamom pods. If you want, you can just toss them into the pot and fish them out of the plums when you remove the pits. Personally, I don’t like that method. It’s far too likely for one to slip past me and, guaranteed, it will be in a jar that I give to a friend or family member. I much prefer to tie the pods in cheesecloth before placing them in the pot. Depending upon how much cardamom flavor you like, the pod package can be put back into the pot after the plum pits have been removed, an option not available if your use the pods alone. Other than the use of the cardamom pods, you’ll find the recipe to be straight-forward.

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Damson Plum Jam - 1

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Damson Plum with Cardamom Jam Recipe

Ingredients

  • 36 oz. (1 kg) damson plums
  • 3 c sugar
  • 1 c water
  • 5 cardamom pods (refer to above commentary and Notes)
  • pinch of salt

Directions

  1. Rinse the plums, removing any stems in the process.
  2. Place the plums, cardamom pods, and water in a thick-bottomed pot over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about an hour. Remove from heat and allow to cool to touch.
  3. Using your hands, squeeze each plum to remove the pit. Discard the pits as well as all the cardamom pods. Reserve everything else.
    1. Alternately, a food mill may be used to remove the pits and pods.
  4. Place the broken down plums back into the thick-bottomed pot. Add sugar, salt, and cook over medium to med-high heat until a temperature of 320˚ F (160˚ C) is reached.
  5. Test to see if jam is ready (See Notes).
  6. If your plums are jamming, place in sterile jars and seal.
    1. They may be refrigerated and will keep for about a month.
    2. They may be frozen and will keep up to a year. Once thawed, use within 3 weeks.
    3. If preserved/canned (see Notes), jam will keep up to a year if stored in a cool, dark place. Once opened, use within a month.
    4. Source: Home Center For Home Food Preservation
  7. Serve as you would your favorite jam and may be used to flavor roasts, particularly pork.

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Damson Plum Jam 4

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Notes

According to a number of sites, 5 cardamom pods would equal about 3/4 tsp of ground cardamom. I have not prepared this jam using ground cardamom, so, I’ve no idea whether it will have a stronger taste.

Though there are a few methods of testing to see if your fruit is jammin’, I prefer to use the plate test. While the fruit/berries are boiling on the stove top, place a dish in your freezer. When you think the jam is ready, take about a half-teaspoon of jam and place it on the now chilled plate. Allow the jam to rest a few minutes before using another spoon or your fingertip to see if the jam has set or is still too runny. If the latter, continue to simmer the jam while returning the plate to the freezer to await the next test.

Canning this jam is simple and not unlike other jams & jellies. Once the jam is ready, fill the sterilized jars, leaving 1/2 inch head space. Place lids on top of each jar, tightening until not quite as tight as possible. (I tighten mine fully and then unscrew the lid slightly.) Place each jar on a rack in a large pot of boiling water. Jars must not sit directly on the kettle bottom. Once the pot returns to the boil, begin timing. This jam will need to be processed (boiled) for 10 minutes, if using half-pint or smaller jars (235 ml or smaller). After 10 minutes, remove jars to a cloth-covered counter or baking sheet, away from any drafts. Do not move for at least 12 hours — 24 hours is best — so that the jars fully seal and the jam sets.

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It’s déjà vu all over again …

Roast Loin of Pork

Roast Loin of Pork

When our temperatures start to drop, I begin to think of preparing roasts for dinner. The oven brings welcome warmth to the kitchen and my house soon fills with the heavenly aroma of a roast in that oven. About a year ago, I posted a recipe for roast loin of pork that was butterflied, slathered with fig preserves and wrapped in pancetta before roasting. The result was a dinner fit for a holiday. You can see the recipe, along with step-by-step instructions, by clicking HERE.

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Coming soon to a monitor near you …

Roasted Arctic Char 3

 Roasted Arctic Char

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210 thoughts on “Today’s Jam is a Real Plum, Damson Plum with Cardamom

    • Thank you, Eleni. I must admit I’ve been over-indulging on crostini with goat cheese and a bit of this jam. I have to slow down or I’ll be out of jam before November! First, though, I need to find some Greek gruyere. Sounds like a tasty combo. 🙂

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    • You’re welcome, Massi. Perhaps because I used pods wrapped in cheesecloth but the cardamom wasn’t as strong a flavor as I thought it would be. It really is quite nice this way.

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    • Thanks, Brandi. I was very hesitant to start making jam and preserving it. Once I did it, though, I realized there’s nothing to it. There are some rules to follow, like just about everything else, and the payback is wonderful. When you decide to try making jam, check out this website. It is chock full of info, whether or not you decide to can your jam.
      http://pickyourown.org/

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  1. John, this is really interesting and inspiring at the same time, the few times I’ve tried making jams, I haven’t used pectin either and sometimes wonder if it is all that necessary since most natural pectin content in fruits should be enough, but I’m not sure, what do you suggest? I really like your cardamon addition, that’s a spice I have only been using recently and don’t feel comfortable with yet, it is pretty fragrant and using too much can make anything taste like perfume I’m sure.

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    • Thanks, Paul. I’m certainly no expert but I have noticed that I have a larger return when I use pectin than without. I think it’s because I use more sugar with pectin and it doesn’t boil as long. I’ll admit though, that I’ve had a few batches, made without pectin, that didn’t set properly. That’s OK for me because I can use them for cooking or as a sauce for ice cream or pancakes. It does make them a poor gift though and I usually make another batch. I, too, was afraid of the cardamom but it worked fine here, not too strong a flavor nor scent. I’m chicken to try more or to switch to powdered cardamom for the reasons you mentioned. 😉

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      • This makes perfect sense, pectin would make them jam set without needing to reduce and concentrate the pulp as much so you’d need more sugar… Ok… This is all coming together 🙂 I wonder if a “bad” batch could be boiled again and pectin added then to save it?

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        • I’m not so sure about reboiling the with pectin, Paul. The boiling instructions of the box are quite specific. A site I use as my canning bible suggests always using about 20% more pectin than called for. That means one full box and some of another. She claims she has far less failures that way. The woman runs a fantastic site, covering everything from where to pick your own fruit to canning to pickling. If you’ve a question, I’m pretty sure you can find the answer on this site: http://www.pickyourown.org. Check it out. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. Let me know if I can be of further help. 🙂

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  2. Damson jam is my absolute favourite jam. I haven’t made any this year, but I’ve got one jar that a friend made and gave to me a couple of weeks ago. I’ve been trying to make it last as long as possible, but I know I’ve got to try some with scones at the weekend now! I really like the idea of the cardamom as well, definitely worth a try.

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    • Thanks, Georgina. I know what it’s like to see the last jar of a favorite jam slowly empty. And when it’s a favorite, it’s especially hard. Perhaps your friend can spare another? 🙂

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  3. Hi John! I enjoyed very much your recipe, as usual. Maybe this winter I’ll try to make my own jam… We’ll see. Just this morning I was wondering if I could make my own light jam/marmalade. Because the ones from the store are not that good. Is it possible to replace sugar for a sweetener?
    Take care!
    G

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    • I was always jealous of our neighbors with fruit trees. One had 2 sour cherry trees and another had 2 that were sweet cherries. Neither shared any nor, worse yet, did they pick them. The cherries quite literally were for the birds. As children, we hated those people. To be honest, I’m not too pleased with them now. The wounds go deep, Roger. 🙂

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  4. Oh my this looks so delicious! I really want to make plum jam now, but alas all my plums are long gone (galettes, clafoutis, etc.). If only you had posted this a few weeks sooner! All the trees here have dropped their fruit already or are overripe and are too soft now. I may have to venture to the market for some, you’ve twisted my arm with this post!

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    • Sorry, Laura, that you’ve no more plums. Our locally grown plums are all gone now, too, or I’d surely put up another batch of jam. Even though the Damsons are gone, I still may try a different variety if for no other reason than to see how they compare. If I do, I’ll let you know. 🙂

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    • And I still have apples in my kitchen waiting for me to get to them. I better do something with them and soon. Saturday is farmers market day and there’s only 1 more to follow for 2013. I need to buy squash for the winter. Squirrels have it lucky. Nuts are so much easier to carry and store than are squash. 🙂

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  5. Look at the colour of that jam, John! Damsons aren’t available here, but we do get president plums which are our favourite. We cut them all in half and take the stones out before cooking – a laborious process I know – but it’s how we got into the habit of doing it when we started! I’m so glad you were able to salvage almost all of them and didn’t come home to an unpleasant bucket of off fruit!

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    • Thanks, Celia. These pits are small and are “clingstone”, they really do stick to the flesh. Once partially cooked, though, they do slip right out of the plums. I can’t imagine trying to cut them out. I bow to your wherewithal, Madam. 🙂
      I really did think I’d come home to a soggy, infested mess. Luckily, I had tied the bag and there were no flies. I’ve no idea why they kept but I’m not complaining — and Zia will get some jam next month instead of a cobbler last month. 🙂

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  6. Your Damson jam looks perfect. I love the colour. I find the removing the stones the most annoying part. Trying to get them out before they are cooked is impossible. I put the damsons in the pan and wait for the stones to surface to the top. Damson’s are not readily available over here. I have to keep my ears open for anyone with a Damson tree who isn’t going to use the fruit. I am quite shameful in asking if I can have them in return for a jar of two. Zia might not have got the damson clobber but at least this way no doubt she will be receiving a jar of jam?

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    • Thanks, Maria, and you’re right. Zia didn’t get a cobbler but she will be getting some jam.While I as at the farmers market, I ate a Damson from my bag and knew, right then and there, that it would be impossible to try to remove the pits before cooking. Next time, I’m going to try your method. It sounds easier and far less messy. This jam came out quite well and I’d have no problem bartering with a neighbor for some. ” I’ll make an offer they can’t refuse. How about a ravioli dinner for some plums?” 🙂

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  7. I enjoyed reading the story of your neglected plums John.
    Your recipe has reminded me of my aunt who made plum jam every year with the plums from the tree in her garden. I used to enjoy the tartness of the jam on my toast everyday.

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  8. Not bad for a guy who no-so-long ago declared himself a Non-Canner! 🙂
    The Small People around here are getting better about staying clear of the Hot Stuff while I’m in the kitchen…with any luck, I’ll be jammin’ again soon! Marking this recipe for next year …

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    • Never say “Never,” Marie. I sure learned that lesson. Glad to hear the Small People are learning the rules of the kitchen. They stand to benefit most, once you start making jam again. Please, oh, please have the camera ready when they help you “clean” the cooled, empty pot of jam. 🙂

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  9. Love your idea of popping cardamom pods in a little cheesecloth bag. I’m forever losing things in food that aren’t meant to be lost – pesky star anise are my biggest re-offenders.
    Your jam looks delicious John, especially in the first photo, smeared thickly on ricotta (or is it goat’s curd)?
    I was initially disappointed you didn’t post a cobbler recipe but after searching, I found your gorgeous-looking plum cobbler from a year ago. Definitely on my to-try list. I’ve never made a cobbler and I think I may actually make two, now knowing they can be frozen!

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    • Thanks, Saskia, You’ve a problem with star anise. My needles in a haystack are whole cloves. No matter what I do, I always leave one behind. That’s goat’s curd. No matter what jam I make, it always goes so well on a goat cheese-covered crostini. As for the cobbler. I make and bake it. Once cooled I double wrap it in foil before freezing it. When ready to be eaten, I bake it in a 350˚F (175˚C) while still covered in foil. To check if done, stick a sharp knife in the center and leave if for a few seconds. It’s ready when the knife is very warm when removed. I hope you make it and enjoy it as much as we all do. 🙂

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  10. Glad your plums were still good when you returned home, whew. The jam surely has a gorgeous color. Have made jam using berries, peaches and crabapples but never plums, not sure why, may be it was the issue with removing the pits, I would use the food mill method, less messy.

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  11. Looks great, I love plum jam. I got hooked on it when living in Germany. Glad to see I’m not the only one over a stove canning! Some of my pear jam without pectin didn’t set, yet as you said those jams still can be used. That particular one has made some great pear martins and is good warm over vanilla ice cream!

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    • Thanks! I only started canning 3 Summers ago but am hooked now. I don’t see fresh fruit or berries at the farmers market. I see pickles and jams. Although I’ve not made martinis – yet – I, too, have used poorly set jam/jelly over ice cream and cakes. I’ve found poorly set tomato jam makes a great barbecue sauce for chicken. Believe me. After going through the effort of cleaning and cooking the fruit, none of it is going to go to waste. I’ll figure out some way to use it, even if that means eating it by the spoonful. 🙂

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  12. Your photos really brought back childhood memories of my mom making damson jam in England. She made all kinds of jams, chutneys and pickles. I’m sure she must have had more hours in her day than today’s mothers, as she made all our clothes too. 🙂 Thanks for the recipe, John. It does look easy to follow. I had a chuckle over your forgetfulness, and I’m glad the damsons were still okay when you got home from your trip. Pity about the cobbler and ice cream though. 🙂

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    • I’m glad you enjoyed the post and that it brought to mind memories of your Mom. Mine canned tomatoes by the bushel and pickled a few things but jams were not on the playlist. Even so, I don’t know how that generation managed to do so much in a day. There must be some sort of magic force in my dining room that kept those plums so fresh. Maybe I should start sleeping in there. 🙂

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  13. Oh, it’s here! I have been waiting for your recipe since I read about it last week and I can’t wait to make this gorgeous jam. Oh what a colour it has to it. And cardamom! How did you know I LOVE cardamom? :-). I’ll let you know how it turns out John.

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    • Thanks, Lidia. Of course you love cardamom. Our tastes are attracted to pretty much the same things. 🙂 I am anxious to learn what you think of this jam. I hope you, once again, like it as much as we do.

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      • Oh, how sad I am John! Went to the farmer’s market and there were no damson plums to be had! I went to 2 other places to search for them, but no such luck! I so had my heart set on this jam, dang it! I’ll have to be quicker next year! 😦

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        • I was afraid of that, Lidia. I even checked my market last Saturday and only one vendor still had plums and they were “Stanley” plums, good but not quite the same. It will be a long wait for next year’s harvest but I plan on being first in line. 🙂

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          • I am quite stubborn and went to visit one last farmer’s market, the biggest one. Alas, no such luck! ‘Till next year my little darlings!

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  14. It never fails that when I’m heading on a trip (even a day trip!) I will make a little pile of things somewhere in my home to ensure I do not forget them, only to walk straight past them on my way out without so much as a second glance. But it seems like it worked out for you here! That first photo is really great – it makes me want to reach into my screen to get a bite. 🙂

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    • Thanks, Lisa. What was so funny about this bout of forgetfulness is that I made a thorough list before I started packing. Everything on that list was in the car. The items left behind weren’t listed but were thought of as I packed. I just knew that by putting them all on the table that I wouldn’t forget them Heck! I had to pass them every time I went to the car. It just wasn’t meant to be.You’re right, though. It worked out pretty well. 🙂

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  15. Wonderfully easy recipe and the jam looks and sounds delicious. This entire post goes into my recipe folder because besides the jam, I can’t wait to try the pork loin roast this winter. You are so right, those smells coming from the oven on a winter’s night are hard to beat.

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    • Thanks, Angeline. That pork roast was something special. I’m going to try something similar this Winter with this jam. I’ve not quite figured it out yet but I’m looking forward to it. It’s hard to beat pork wrapped in pork with a jelly center. 🙂

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  16. wow…that is one gorgeous jam!! I wish I got into canning but I can always make a small batch to use for the week. I can so relate to your thought process, excited about making one thing, time passes, excitement begins to simmer down and brews on to other things, it always seems to me like I have lists and lists on what I want to do and life (i.e., forgetting things) gets in the way. I’m so glad I’m not the only one! But lucky for us and you, you brilliantly came up with a solution to the plums!!

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    • Thanks, Linda. I’m sure you remember my hesitancy about canning. I’ve since learned that jam can be easily frozen, too, and it will keep about a year in the freezer. Though you can use special freezing containers, the glass Bell & Mason jelly jars will work just as well and are far cheaper. Sometimes I wonder why I even bother making lists. They imply organization but, for me, they’re anything but. 🙂

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  17. John The colour of your jam is fabulous. I wish you had included a photo of the fruit because I have never seen damson plums. I believe Perth is too warm for them. Friends from the cooler states have told me they make wonderful jam..Yours looks so good it must taste lovely.

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    • Thanks, Glenda. Sorry about the photos. I hadn’t formatted my camera’s flash card in some time and I paid a heavy price. These plums are about the size or a large grape or black olive and the pits are no bigger than my little finger’s nail. The plums aren’t large at all. The jam has a tartness that I really enjoy. Sounds like you need to make some friends in the cooler states. 🙂

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      • Hi John, Alas we are not allowed to bring any plant matter, fruit, seeds cuttings etc into Western Australia. It is to protect the agricultural industry. We don’t have a lot of bugs here that are in the other parts of the world and in the Eastern States of Australia.

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  18. Lovely looking jam! I still haven’t gotten around to making my own (or to cheese either, but that’s a whole ‘nother story!) but I’m still mighty tempted. 😉 One of these days! I love cardamon, and I agree if you rely on fishing them out of the pot you’ll miss some. I often use one of those tea balls instead of cheesecloth. You know – the ones people use with loose tea when they don’t want to deal with the mess of adding the loose tea to the pot (they just pack it into the tea ball, and add it to the pot that way). Super recipe – thanks so much.

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    • Thank you, John, for both the compliments and reminder. I had a tea ball but the hinge broke when I last made ketchup, spewing its contents into the tomatoes. I prefer to think of that batch of ketchup as “fiber-rich”. Thanks to you, I just put a new tea ball into my Amazon shopping cart. 🙂
      I know you’re hesitant about canning/preserving. I certainly was. You can make very good jam and freeze it. In fact, I’ve a number of jars in my freezer right now. If I’ve any sort of problem while canning them, I let the jars all cool and place the questionable ones in my freezer. Having tasted both, there’s no difference at all between them. I’m off now to tend to that shopping cart. With a little luck, I won’t be adding anything else — read cookbooks — to it. 🙂

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    • Thanks, Ingrid. I’m glad this post brought the memory of your Mom to mind. I saw plenty of currants this year at the market and considered canning some. I was too late though. When I got back to the market, they were gone. Next year they’re mine! 🙂

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  19. We are starting to tackle the art of spreading jam and butter at our house – it is a work in progress. Although it would be messy I might have to let them go to town with this jam if we make it. Looks delicious!

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    • Now that’s a class I’d love to audit. I’ve visions of smiling faces wearing more jam than any of the bread. Thanks for the compliment and, most importantly, the smile. 🙂

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  20. Where was this recipe when I had plum trees? Just chopped them down last fall as they were falling apart. But we used to get glorious plums. Both green and purple. But I was never great at making jam, though I tried and tried. The squirrels enjoyed them immensely!

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    • Thanks, Abbe. Lucky squirrels! A short while ago I left a very similar comment on a post that involved using crab apples to make a liqueur. Not but 2 months ago, we chopped down a huge crab apple tree in Zia’s yard. I must admit to having a few batches of jam that didn’t set properly but I never mind that. I use them in cooking and, depending upon the kind, atop ice cream and cake. None goes to waste! 🙂

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  21. Another gorgeous recipe, and a rhyming title to boot! What’s not to love. I’m wildly enamored of cardamom and plum jam sounds like a great place to use it. And I am looking up the pork recipe NOW! Ohboyohboyohboy!

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    • Thanks, Kathryn. I’m pretty pleased with how this jam tastes. I’m waiting for the weather to chill a bit more before I break out the roasting pan. If I do it now, I’ll be all out of tricks come January. 🙂

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  22. Farmers market produce keeps so well. I’m so glad the plums didn’t spoil, it would have been tragic.
    That’s the great thing about plum jams or jellies they can be used as sweet or savory, and as my taste buds run to savory, I love them with cheese or meats, plus a spoonful when making gravy adds a depth to the flavour. This recipe is so straightforward I could almost convince myself I could manage it. The rewards might be the incentive 🙂

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    • Thanks, EllaDee. I cannot begin to tell you the images I had of that bag of plums on my table. The one thing I didn’t expect was to find them in just about perfect condition. Amazing! I, too, enjoy the savory side and plan to try this in some gravies. I just wish I had been able to buy more plums to make another batch. This one won’t go far, I’m afraid. If you don’t wish to put up with canning/preserving, have you considered making jam and freezing it? It will last a year in the freezer, just as long as one that’s been processed in a hot water bath — but so very much easier to make. 🙂

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  23. That’s such a sad story about your plums! I have done that too. Been so super-organised with everything left at the front door only to drive off without all my organised bits. However, all was not lost and you were able to make this beautiful jam. It’s such a pretty colour. I would be putting the cardamon pods in cheesecloth too because there really isn’t anything worse than biting into a cardamon pod! I’m looking forward to our plum season – not long before we start to see them in the shops xx

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    • Thanks, Charlie. I was so proud of myself, too. The car — including the parrot — was all packed and I was sitting at my desk, sipping a coffee, going over my “all encompassing” list. With nothing left on the list, I made a last walk through my home, passing the plums twice, called to Max and left. It just wasn’t meant to be. Our farmers markets have 2 Saturdays left before they close until May. I hate to see them go but, this far North, there really isn’t anything for the farmers to bring to market. I’ll enjoy Summer vicariously through your posts. 🙂

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  24. I really relate to walking past the “left behind” bag and not wanting to look inside! I did this the other day with an entire bag of groceries. I took my cloth bags to the store and somehow put the bag aside for two days, ugh! In this case, you really did reprieve the situation with this wonderful jam! I love the cardamom and the color of the jam is simply gorgeous. A very similar jam is sold in a local “farm to table” specialty shop and for a very pretty penny! I know it’s warranted because of the work and the fact that damson plums aren’t the trees in everyone’s backyard. They are a treat! But next year I’d love to scour the farmer’s markets and purchase enough to make this lovely jam. Great gifts! Now I hope you can find another time to go make some ice cream for Zia! Ice cream is good year-round. 🙂

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    • Thanks, Debra. I do remember when I had a memory I could be proud of. That’s about all I remember but it’s something. 🙂 I’ve yet to forget a whole bag of groceries but I have left a produce bag or two in the car trunk, only to find it far too late. Thank heavens my garage is on the alley. It’s so easy to get those mistakes out of sight and mind.
      You’re right. This jam would make great gifts for the holidays and I wish I had bought and made more. Of course, Zia will get a jar to replace her cobbler and I’ve promised some to friends. That doesn’t leave me much to play with. Next year will be different. I’ve one more trip home before Winter hits and I’ll bring my ice cream maker with me. I’ll make a few quarts for Zia, as well as for a few of her lady friends. That machine really gets a workout when I remember to take all of it with me. 🙂

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  25. Ciao, John! 🙂 May I have that Roasted Arctic Char before the plum jam on vanilla ice cream – if possible, please?… 🙂 I love all plums: jam, tart and the famous damson plum brandy from Lorraine(French-German border) are very popular in France.
    – – –
    friendly hugs & good luck in all your endeavours… cheers! 🙂 Mélanie

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    • Ciao, Melanie! Don’t you want at least a taste of jam while you wait for the Arctic Char to finish roasting? It is almost finished and will be here before you know it. I bet that plum brandy is very good. Mmmmm
      Have a great day. Salute!

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  26. Plums are definitely a fruit the eastern Europeans love. My dear Mom baked many a treats using plums but I have no idea which kind. I’m pretty sure they were always the smaller ones and tart is something she really loved (as I do) so they may well have been the Damson. I love this jam particularly because it doesn’t use pectin. I am making bacon jam today, perhaps if we pass by Chicago this fall, we can do a drive by trade!

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    • Thanks, Eva. It’s a shame that you don’t have more of your Mom’s treat recipes. I can commiserate. All we have of many of Mom’s sweets are the memories. I’ve seen recipes for bacon jam and it’s on my list of things to try. There’s also a bacon salt I’d like to make. I’d love to see you both this Fall but a trade isn’t likely. I only got the 5 jars pictured and they’re all claimed. I could kick myself for not buying more that last weekend they were are at the market. I mistakenly thought I’d have another week. I won’t make that mistake next year.

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    • Like anything else in the kitchen, practice makes perfect. My first jams & jellies weren’t the best but, as they’ve gotten much better. Yours will too! 🙂
      Thank you for the visit and for taking the time to leave a comment.

      Like

  27. So lovely that these beautiful plums didn’t go to waste John! I’m sure that would have been heartbreaking and none too pleasant to come home to after your trip away… Cardamom is such a gorgeous addition to your jam and if it’s just a subtle hint of spice/fragrance, then that’s absolutely perfect in my books. Sometimes less really is more! 🙂 Margot

    Like

    • Thank you, Margot. I cannot begin to describe the horrible scene I thought would be waiting for me. I was sure the bag had opened, allowing its contents to spill onto the table and rug. What a relief to see that it hadn’t. Even so, I was in no hurry to open that bag. It all worked out just fine, though. That jam is really good and I’ll bring a jar to Zia to make up for the missing cobbler. 🙂

      Like

  28. So glad you were able to salvage some of the plums! What a beautiful jam they turned into. Your post and your beautiful jam reminds me that I too, have damsons sitting in the freezer from when my friend gave me some last year from her tree. Like you I had many plans for them but just couldn’t get it done. Not wanting to lose them, I dumped the bag into the freezer so I could make jelly somewhere down the line, Ahem…they’re still in there. I really must use this as inspiration and use them up.
    I love the addition of the cardamom too. I have to say though, I don’t mind the pods but my husband hates them, guess who gets all the pods when he’s eating biryani or pullao? Yep. I don’t ever get one.
    But in a jam they should be removed, especially if they are a gift. I did make some peach jam this year with my big box of peaches. It turned out fantastic.

    So, I guess I’ll see about getting those plums out of the freezer! Thanks for reminding me, John.

    Nazneen

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    • You are so welcome, Nazneen. I know what it is like to put something into the freezer, only to forget about it for months. I’m quite certain that if I tried to fish out the pods, I would have left at least one behind and I wouldn’t be the one to find them later. Like your husband, some poor unsuspecting relative or friend would find the “prize”. I made a cherry pie for Zia and her son came for a visit. He found 2 pits in one piece of pie! I couldn’t believe it. 🙂

      Like

  29. Thank you for the canning hints. I guess if you use a little more pectin, there’s a chance of the jelly/jam not being so watery? My plums were harvested back in July, but there’s always next year. That’s only if I beat the birds and squirrels when it comes to the harvest.

    Like

  30. Lucky you that your plums waited so very nicely for your return! Definitely one for the books. I love the look of that deep purple jam, absolutely gorgeous. We planted two plum trees last year, but I don’t want to wait as long as it will take to have our own fruit to use. I will definitely cave and buy some plums for this recipe!

    Like

  31. It’s quite amazing your plums were in such fine shape after days of neglect. I’m certain if you tried to “keep” them you wouldn’t have had such luck, that’s the way it goes I think? I had to google Damson plums and now I know which you’ve used. If I used a plum that is easy to pit, would it be quicker to remove the pits before starting? I’ve picked up some lovely plums at the market last weekend that were promptly devoured, so I’ll have to see what type I can find. I love making jam, there’s something just so.. well.. jammy about it:D

    Like

    • Thanks, Barb. No one was more surprised than I to find those plums pretty much the way I left them. I expected far worse. I do think that removing pits beforehand is preferable. It’s certainly less messy. With Damsons, you’ve 2 things working against you: their size and they’re clingstone. Being so small, it really is hard to dig out the pits. Once partially cooked, the pits just slide right out. When I make peach jam, for example, I choose freestone peaches and remove the pits beforehand.
      And I’m with you. I really enjoy making jam, too. Love the thought of all those mornings to come that will start with a coffee and a bit of toast with jam. Yum!

      Like

  32. John –

    your blog is SO popular. I can tell because takes quite a bit of time to scroll down to leave a comment. That’s a good thing. 🙂

    I have never dried this variety of plum, but they sound delicious and their color is so beautiful and deep. How sad that they never made it to sweet Zia. I am sure that she would have enjoyed the cobblers! Still, the jam that you have created is lovely in appearance and certainly in flavor. I ADORE cardamom. Excellent call on putting those pods in a bouquet – it would be a shame to loose a tooth! 😉 Cardamom’s sweet and spicy essence is unparalleled. Hopefully you can send Zia some of this beautiful jam.

    Goat cheese with a homemade jam on warm crostini is one of my FAVORITE food combinations in the entire world. What an addictive (and flavorful) combination you have created with the smooth, creamy and salty chèvre; fruity and sweet spiced jam and crisp baguette! The crostini might even be nice with a little orange zest on top to compliment the plum jam.

    You must try the same crostini and chèvre, but with fig jam from Turkey or ginger jam from Scotland. A good weight-gainer for sure!

    Oh, and I test my jam the same way to see if the fruit is ” jammin’” (HA! Very puny of you). Excellent post and thank you for sharing your the sage of the plums with us… And the photos were “off the hook”!

    Like

    • Thank you so much, Shanna, for leaving such nice compliments. Although Zia missed out on a cobbler, I’ll be bringing her a jar of jam when I visit her next month. I should give her a biscuit with the jar and call it Plum Cobbler Deconstructed”. She’s a fan of Iron Chef and will love the reference.
      Last year, I made fig jam, as well as strawberry with balsamic & black pepper. That was a very good jam to use in cooking, too. And, of course, I enjoyed both with chèvre. You’re right, it is soo good! I love it! 🙂

      Like

      • Zia will certainly enjoy her Plumb Cobbler Deconstructed. 🙂 That definitely made me smile. Zia the Iron Chef fan!

        All of your jams sound divine. Lovely flavor combinations! I am particularly intrigued by the trio of a sweet strawberry fruit with the acidity of vinegar and spice of black pepper. How creative! Last winter I bought Fig-Balsamic and a Fig-Ginger jams from a local vendor. MMMMMM. 🙂

        Like

  33. The cooking of the plums is a great shot, such vibrant color. I know your jam tastes wonderful, John. The story of the bag of plums is a good one and I can relate. Glad it all turned out so well and I’m sure Zia will be glad for a jar when you visit next time.

    Looking forward to your apple cake recipe as the weather is perfect for it. Fall makes me feel like cooking!

    Like

    • Thanks, Ruth, and you’re right, I’ll visit Zia next month and I’ve put aside a jar for her. She’s the star of this blog. I have to keep the star happy. 🙂
      I plan on posting the apple cake recipe after this week’s Arctic Char. There will still be plenty of apples left in the markets. I’m glad, too, because I surely will bake it at least one more time before Thanksgiving. 🙂

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  34. Your jam is a work of art! I’m rather glad you forgot to take them to Michigan for cobbler (my apologies to Zia for the loss, but then again, something tells me you’ll share that jam with her). Thanks for reminding me that it’s not too late to make jam. I made my first-ever jam this summer, a batch each of blueberry and raspberry, and the way the Culinary Enthusiast is going through them, they won’t last much past Christmas. I need to make more; who knows, maybe I can find some of these plums!

    As for that pork loin roast, I still remember the original post. It’s perhaps the most beautiful roast I’ve ever seen, and I pinned it first time around.

    Like

    • Thanks, Mar. Considering the mess I had envisioned while I was driving home, I was very much relieved to find the plums miraculously intact. You’re right, too. Zia will get a jar when I visit her next month. I also know what you mean about the jam disappearing. All of this plum jam is already spoken for. I wish I’d bought more. I will next year, rest assured. This is roast season and I hope to do something with this jam and a roast. I have to conference with Zia. We’ll think of something!

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  35. Looks so good. I wonder about swirling a heaping spoonful into gravy as a subtle – “hmm what is that note I’m picking up” flavor.

    Like

    • Thanks, Dave. I was thinking the very same thing. I know it will be good if used to “stuff” a loin of pork but I bet a little in sauces would be fantastic. I only wish I had bought more plums and made a 2nd batch of jam. I will next year! 🙂

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  36. Stunning colour in the bowl there, and how lucky that they waited for you and did not go mushy.. I came looking for this post again yesterday and it just would not come up for me, this happens to me sometimes.. did you get that snow yesterday? I had a wee flurry early this morning as I sat in the drive hulling walnuts.. Now, the damsons, I must check but I am hoping that they grow here, I am looking for a deep red plum to plant.. i will look them up right now.. have a llovely day john.. remind me to get the loin out of the freezer so i can have it ready for next weeks roast!! c

    Like

    • Thanks, Celi. I sometimes have the same problem with others’ posts. I’ve no idea why it happens, only that it does. No snow here yet, though it did in the burbs. We did have a hard freeze, though, and I pulled my tomato plants. The frost did them in. I have to cover the pots now and give the “s” blower a check. It’s comin’, Celi, whether we approve or not. 😦

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  37. What a gorgeous looking jam, John!!! The color is so vibrant! It just invites you to eat it. 🙂
    It is amazing that the plums waited that long … a couple of weeks right? And out of the refrigerator!!! You are so resourceful! That’s one of the qualities a great cook should have. You didn’t despair and came up with a brilliant idea to use your plums. I wish I was so creative! Hat off to you, John! 🙂

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    • Thank you so much, Francesca, for the nice compliments. Those plums were on that table for 10 days, having been bought 2 weeks before my return. I wouldn’t expect them to keep that well had they been in the refrigerator all that time. I’m both relieved and very happy how things worked. This jam is quite good. I will be making much more of it next year. I cannot wait!

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  38. Oh my word – how many comments have you got here John? Not surprising as it’s a gorgeous recipe. I thought you were going to say you came home and found congealed syrup of plums on the worktops covered in flies…just speaking from a watermelon experience here 😦 Love the idea of the cardamoms, the taste of them is amazing. And I wouldn’t complain if you gave me a jar of jam with a stone (pit) in it – I’d think I was lucky and make a wish 🙂

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    • Thank you so much, Tanya! Your description matches my thoughts of what I would find when I got home. I was just praying that the bag was sound. As it was, I had toed it tightly — I had forgotten about that — and all was well. I can’t explain it and I certainly won’t try it again. Like you, Tanya, none of my family nor friends would mind finding a pod in their jam. I still wouldn’t like it. I bet you’re the same way, too. 😉

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  39. How lucky it turned out for you to have forgotten the plums! I remember my great-aunt making the most wonderful damson preserves from a tree in her yard. But it’s so rare for us to find good ones here. I’m going to have to find someone with a tree and make friends with them. 🙂

    Like

    • That was really a stroke of luck, Michelle. As I recall, most vendors had a few varieties of plums this past Summer but only 2 had Damsons. Considering how good this jam was, I’l be sure to look for more next Summer. Looking at the comments and seeing how many people like these plums, I bet anyone with a Damson plum tree is very popular. You may have to resort to bribery. 🙂

      Like

    • Thank you but, to be honest, this is one story I could have done without. I was not eager to see what I thought would be a mess on my table. Glad it worked out but I sure was lucky! 🙂

      Like

      • It looks so delicious! … And Klausbernd has the really hard job to remove the stone from the plum. I’m so relieved to read that we can cook them for an hour and then remove the stones and go on! I have saved the recipe for next autumn.
        Thanks a lot!
        Love, Dina

        Like

        • Thank you, Dina. I was very happy to learn the “cook before pitting” trick. Damson plums have the world’s smallest pits. Your Klausbernd must be a very patient person to do the job by hand, raw. If you do make this jam, I hope you enjoy it as much as we do. Good luck!

          Like

  40. How great does that look! Poor Zia – haven’t we all made a point to take something & remember halfway to our destination that it’s sitting right there back on the table. At least you were able to salvage them – what’s that expression – turning plums into plumade? Ok maybe that’s lemons, but same deal.
    I haven’t made any jam since we had a multi day power outage after my husband picked 14 lbs. of blackberries for me to turn into jam. By the time we got the power back I had the largest colony of fruit flies in the East.

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    • Thanks, Diane. Yes, I was very fortunate. Berries, though, are a completely different story. I’ve had times where a pint bought on one day was “furry” the next. Your poor husband. I would not be happy! Do you think the fruit flies had something to do with the power outage? By themselves, they ain’t nuttin but together who knows what they could accomplish? With 14 lbs of blackberries, they could feast for generations! 🙂

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  41. All this talk of jam reminds me of Mum, who made jam from everything, including her super-abundance of tomatoes, though my favourite was her satsuma plum jam – deepest ruby red and deliciously sweet and sour! The cardamom is an inspired addition. I must remember, when jam season rolls around. Now, I’m off into Deja vu land … I do love figs 🙂

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    • Thanks, Meredith. I’m glad you enjoyed the post and that it reminded you of your Mum and her jam making. Her plum jam sounds incredible! I hope you enjoy “Deju vu land.” 🙂

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    • Thanks, Liz. Yes, I’m am obsessed and I love to make jam. It’s an awful combination. My collection of jams and jellies continues to grow even though I give much of it away. I just can’t help myself. I see a new fruit or berry and have to give it a try. I wonder if there’s a jammin’ support group? 🙂

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  42. I haven’t jammed at all this year, but just looking at this jam makes me want to make some. I love the cardamom with the plums…it sounds like a perfect match. And there are so many things you can do with plum jam…in fact, I’ll bet this would be a great glaze for roasted pork. Great color, too!

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    • Thanks, Betsy, and you’re right. I’ve used fig jam and strawberry jam to “stuff” a pork roast this plum jam is definitely going to be called into duty. Once we get into roasting season a bit more, the experiments will begin! 🙂

      Like

  43. This is such a wonderful jam, John: amazing how firm it looks from your images without using pectin. I never thought it would be possible. Also, great touch adding the cardamom (by the way, one of the most elusive, at least to me, wine descriptors!) 🙂

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    • Thanks, Stefano. I once was leery about making jams without pectin but it isn’t that difficult. It does take longer, though, and you have to be careful not to let the jam burn. You’ve a trained and skillful palate. I’d love to learn what you’d think of this jam after having a taste. 🙂

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  44. Mmm! That jam looks so good I can almost smell it. I will have to talk my crazy can-everything-in-sight sister to make this next year.

    When I was a kid, my mother sometimes made plum jam and my father would always pretend he had a cold when he asked for it. “Pass the plub jab,” he’d say at breakfast, as my siblings and I rolled our eyes. Every time I see the words “plum jam” I hear his plugged-nasal voice. Funny how some things stick with you.

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    • I think your Sister and I would make very good friends. I’m becoming more and more addicted to canning.
      Yes, it’s corny as all heck but your Dad cracked me up. At 7 or 8 years of age, I would have been in stitches. 🙂

      Like

    • I’ve always wanted at least one fruit tree in my yard but this one is far too small, unless I want to plant one in the dog run. Not! I admit I’ve become a jam junkie and really enjoy the entire process. Luckily I’ve friends who enjoy the finished product or I wouldn’t be able to move in this house.

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  45. I was reading your post while eating breakfast and my mouth is watering (our cupboards are quite bare and a trip to the grocery is on the schedule!). I would love to have a piece of toast with your jam and was that ricotta cheese? So glad your neglected plums were put to good use!

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    • Thank you so much. That is goat cheese in the photo. I’ve yet to find a jam or jelly that does not go well with goat cheese. You’ve given me an idea, though, and the next time I make ricotta, I’ll save a little for my toast and jam in the morning. 🙂

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  46. Plums and cardamon sounds blissful. I am glad you dared to look inside the bag as this jam is sure to bring you lots of happiness this winter. We must be on the same wave length as I just made some jam, took tons of photos, then my son proceeded to accidently delete all my photos from my camera…ayyaah! Now I want to give your recipe a try. Have a super week and your coming attraction looks really delicious.

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    • Thanks, BAM. It must be the time of year. Suddenly, like a squirrel in a mad dash to get nuts before Winter, I’m canning like crazy. I’ve got 3 more batches to go and hope to get 2 done today. Sorry about the accidental delete. Bad as it sounds, I hope none of the photos were of family. You can make a dish again but family photos are much harder to replace. You’ll get the new post in less than 24 hours. Stay tuned …
      Hope you’re having a great week, BAM!

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  47. Okay where do I begin? Let’s begin at the beginning where your “negligence” proved to be such a stroke of good fortune! Not meaning to discount the disappointment of Zia, but oh lucky us! I grew up eating Damson plums and loved that combination of tart skin and sweet, stick to the pit fruit. They couldn’t be a much better choice for jam (or chutney), and the addition of cardamom is Perfect!! Here goes another one of your recipes to my Pin board of recipes I MUST try! I seriously doubt that I can find the plums now {sigh} and it won’t be easy waiting til next August or September but I suppose I’ll have to {heavy sigh}. {pity party} : )

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    • Thank you, Spree. Funny you mentioned chutney. Originally, that was what I thought I’d do with the plums but I’d no experience making chutney of any kind. I was afraid I’d foul things up and lose the rest of the plums. So, I went with something I knew, jam, and I’m not at all disappointed with the results. Our farmers markets all close this week and weekend until May. Though I saw some plums last week, the Damsons were gone weeks ago. I’ve a number of things in my kitchen waiting to be prepared, pickled, or canned. I think I’ll be buying squash, and squash alone, this weekend. 😉

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  48. Cardamom in jam? I am sold. I can imagine pairing this with herb cheese on a triscuit…delicious! Love the colors. But I might never have the patience to pit all those little plums to ever get to making a jam. But I can have a jar any time, lol! I loved the way you wrote about forgetting the plums. I always forget something or the other only to remember it after I have reached my destination.

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    • Thanks, Minnie. It never fails that I forget something on my way to Michigan. The time before last, having left before rush hour and making it across the city in record time, I realized I’d forgotten my wallet and had to go back. By that time, rush hour was in full swing and that little detour took 2 hours!!!
      If you cook these plums for about an hour, the pits are very easy to “squeeze” out of the cooled pulp. Believe me, it is very easy and not at all like trying to pit them That would be near impossible and I haven’t the patience for it. Give them a try next time you see them You’ll love the jam. 🙂

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  49. Talk about deja vu – I couldn’t even begin to count the number of Damson plum jams I’ve made. We had a Damson plum tree for 20 years and it was quite prolific every year. I love those little plum and they made a great jam. I’ve never used cardamom in it before, however. Now I want to go find some and give this a try. It sounds delicious and looks perfecto!

    Like

    • Thanks, MJ. how lucky you were to have one of these trees on your property. They make such a great jam and the cardamom works well with them. I wish I had bought more when I had the chance. I won’t repeat that mistake next year.

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  50. I love the look and colour of that jam. The kind I would eat with some freshly baked scones, straight out of the oven with some butter oozing as well, mmm delicious. I am glad you braved the bag and had a peek and shared this lovely jam recipe without pectin. I don’t really love pectin in jams, spoils all the natural goodness. The addition of cardamon to jam is new to me but I love cardamon and would not mind adding it to the jam at all. Thanks so much for sharing and best wishes to Max…

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    • Thanks, Liz. Yeah, I wasn’t at all anxious to open that bag. The fact that there wasn’t a swarm of fruit flies in my dining room emboldened me. It all worked out for the best. We didn’t get any cobbler but, to be honest, it would have been incredibly difficult to pit all those tiny damsons. This jam was so much easier to make and Zia did get some jam. A win-win!
      Max has a couple tough weeks ahead of him. I’m having the back steps and the porches for the 2nd and 1st floors torn down and replaced. He doesn’t like seeing someone walk passed my back gate. How ever will he allow these men to work just outside my door? This will be memorable, for me and the contractors. 🙂

      Like

  51. Pingback: This Pork Tenderloin is Plum Tasty | from the Bartolini kitchens

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    • As you can see, I’m quite a bit behind in my blogging duties. It was a wonderful Summer, though. 🙂
      Thank you so much for the kind way in which you mentioned me and my blog. Your jam sounds delightful, though gathering the berries sounds a bit daunting. Still, it looks like your work provided you and your family with a great jam, one that will remind you of the warm days of Summer’s end. Thank you again.

      Like

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