Here is one more canning recipe ! This was done for Christmas 2009, to give to the guests attending our annual Christmas meeting. I can't remember exactly what triggered me on the path of canning, but I know it happened totally unplanned, an evening I was cooking some cranberry sauce. I suddenly felt the urge to can the recipe, and got around to improvise some canning equipment.
I found old mason jars, got water boiling, sterilized everything and followed instructions for hot water bath canning that I had in one of my books. I didn't have a safe pair of grips to lift the jars out of the water, so Guyuk proposed that we use a small rope around the rim of the jar, to lift them out, and we kept the other end out of the cauldron.
Chopped plums, cinnamon sticks and star anise
Getting everything together is fairly simple: chop the plums in coarse bits, dump the whole spices (you could use powdered, but it's easier to fish them out when whole, when clarity is important), add the lemon juice and the sugar. Then, magic happens. Congratulations ! You've made jam !
Gooey sticky delicious mess
For this project, I had some smallish 125 ml jars (so cute !), so that I could have one jar for everyone. The goal was not to have an overwhelming amount of jam but just to do cute little presents. Still, these are empty quite fast, and to store jam for me, I prefer to use the 250 ml ones. I had two jars leftover from my production (I got a total of 12), which I should open soon to finish... as soon as I finish up the other jams in my fridge, I guess.
The finished product, ready to be offered
Plum jam with cinnamon and star anise
adapted from Pease Pudding
(yields approximately 5 190ml jars)
1kg black plums, stoned and chopped
juice of 1 lemon
3 cinnamon sticks
3 star anise
Place all ingredients into a non-reactive pan over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved.
Bring heat to medium-high and let reduce for about 45 minutes. (I simply monitored things there from time to time). To test the final consistency of your jam, set a plate in the freezer, and when it's cold, drop some jam on top. If too runny, either reduce more or add some powdered or liquid pectin. (I added one pouch of pectin to mine). Remove the cinnamon sticks and the star anise.
After filling your sterilized jars, can the jam in a hot water bath. You need to sterilize the jars for 10 minutes, then process in hot water bath for an additionnal 10 minutes. Ensure that all jars "pop". If they do not, either re-can or keep in fridge. You can also skip this step and just keep it in the fridge.
If you are not familiar with canning, please consider looking at in-depth information, as not following proper procedures could lead to being very ill or even could result in death. If you ever have a doubt about one of your jars, please, throw it away instead of taking chances.