Let them eat plums

I love the versatility of plums. Straight up, fancy, sweet, savory, whatever, you can’t go wrong.

Here are my ‘two-batch kick-ass’ (my prized ninja name, thanks to Julia) offerings for this stonefruit-ful edition of the Tigress Can Jam. Both recipes are inspired by the sound science of Linda Ziedrich.

Sugar Plum Crumble Preserves

yield 2 pints

I love overnight recipes. It means I get a nice break between fruit prep and put-it-in-jars time, or, perhaps most importantly, I get a chance to stay on top of dishes (i.e. I jump at any opportunity to not turn my kitchen into a canning disaster zone).

I shaved long strips of lemon peels two weeks prior to make lemon curd (and I had some left over). To dry it, I just left the long zest pieces intact and placed them into an uncovered ramekin in the fridge (and promptly forgot about them). Perfectly dried lemon peel, no muss. You could do it faster using an oven set at 250, or of course a food dehydrator.

1. Combine in a heavy-bottomed pot and let sit covered for 12-24 hours:

2 lbs prune plums, some halved, most quartered

2 cups sugar (I used raw)

1/2 cup light brown sugar

3 Tbs strained lemon juice

1/2 tsp dried lemon peel, chopped finely

2. Bring mixture to a boil over med-high heat. Stir every now and again to keep everything incorporated, but don’t over stir (your sugar won’t get the chance to cook enough to gel). Cook until you see dime-sized bubbles spread out pretty evenly through out the mixture (about an inch apart).

3. Ladle hot jam into hot jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace, wipe rims and seal. Process jars for 10 minutes in boiling water.

Honey Pie Conserve

yield about 3 pints

Never once in my not-so-long canning career have I thought, “I will make this every year for the rest of my life.” Consider it thought (plum trees, of course, permitting). This is the Nat King Cole of preserves. The thing waiting on your shelf to knock someone’s socks off when they least expect it.

I messed up the original recipe in a delicious kind of way. I was supposed to add all four apples in step two (below), but I didn’t see that until I’d dumped all my diced apples into the pot for step one. I pulled as many out as I had patience for, but now I realize that cooking down some of the apples gives this conserve a wonderful boost in consistency. Like applesauce and jam combined.

I ate an entire quarter-pint’s worth the night I made it.

Oh, and this is not an overnight recipe.

1. Combine in your favorite preserving pot over low heat for about 10 min (or until the plums have softened):

2 lbs prune plums, pitted and halved

3 Tbs strained lemon juice

2 green or tart variety apples, cored and diced into pieces about the size of a nickel (leave skin on!)

1 cinnamon stick

2. Meanwhile, slice the other 2 apples the same way and add them to the pot for 15 minutes (or until the second batch of apples softens a bit).

3. Raise heat to medium and add:

3 cups sugar

1/3 cup honey

4. Raise heat again to medium-high once sugar has dissolved and bring mixture to a boil. Boil for about 15 minutes (watch for the big bubbles mentioned in recipe above).

5. Ladle hot jam into hot jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace, wipe rims and seal. Process jars for 10 minutes in boiling water.

Conserve + cream cheese = BFF