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Preserving Summer: Plum Honey Vanilla Jam

September 12th, 2008 · 6 Comments

After conquering my fear of canning, the next item on my kitchen project list was making jam. I had recently stumbled across this lovely Green Gage Plum & Vanilla Jam recipe at Chez Pim which sounded simple enough. I had some green Shiro plums and Italian prune plums to work with. I really wanted to use honey, but I’ve read that you can only substitute honey for half of the sugar in a recipe, and didn’t want to stray too far from the original recipe since this was my first jam-making experience. I also had fewer plums than originally purchased, thanks to a toddler who was downing up to 6 a day…

So, my recipe quantities were: 1 lb plums, scant 1 c sugar, 1 T lemon juice, 1 T honey, 1 vanilla bean. I followed the original instructions and got a nice, thick jam, but I wasn’t sure what to do about the peels. I suspect that Pim’s green gage plum skins were thinner and perhaps dissolved? The prune plum skins had not, and were tough when I tried one. I strained the cooked jam then to remove the peels, which thinned my jam a bit so I was pleased to see when I opened a jar that it was a nice, jelly-like consistency. It is quite tasty, sweet and the vanilla adds such a lovely fragrance.

Now, Pim’s recipe is for a small batch to begin with, so guess what happens when you halve that? A meager two mini jam pots…

It probably wasn’t worth processing them since one went straight into the fridge to be eaten soon, but oh well. It was part of the learning experience. I will definitely keep practicing – and reading up on jam techniques over the winter. In the meantime, head over to Lelo in Nopo and check out the yummy jams she’s been making!

Oh, and the little bit left over? Excellent topping for peach ice cream!

Tags: preserving · recipes

6 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Lelo // Sep 12, 2008 at 4:39 pm

    Oh yum! I need to explore the vanilla + fruit jam and this sounds delightful. I did purchase a book that has my head reeling with combinations: Mes Confitures. Wow.

    And as for the topping idea? We discovered the strawberry freezer jam on vanilla ice cream is really, really good too. Oh, th possibilities….

  • 2 Sylvie, Rappahannock Cook & Kitchen Gardener // Sep 13, 2008 at 12:23 pm

    I grew up where vanilla grow so I almost automatically put a vanilla bean in all sweet confections. I actually had to wean myself out of doing that.

    I made Italian plum jam too last week, but I left the fruit whole and did not sieve the skin. I like the extra texture, and I like some pieces of fruit in the jam. Not better… just different, maybe more “rustic”…

    I really like those Italian plums, and can attest that they dry well, and they are wonderful to make because they don’t give up too much juice. Try Italian Plum Cake ( or the Upside Down Spiced Plum Cake ( The first one freezes well too, and is wonderful for dessert.

    Keep us posted on your jam adventures, Colleen. And remember, you could get fresh ripe fruit now, freeze them and make jam from them in winter. Works very well!

  • 3 foodietots
    Twitter: foodietots
    // Sep 24, 2008 at 1:27 pm

    @ Lelo – Ooh, will have to check out that book. I just bought “Putting Up,” which was recommended by a bookstore employee. I have so much to learn still!

    @ Sylvie – Thanks for the suggestion to freeze the fruit for later! I have another bunch of Italian plums stored now to make either one of your cakes or more jam.

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