Are you having a good holiday weekend? As if you needed yet another excuse to hit the orchards, I present this truly wonderful and easy-to-make Autumn Jam. It’s a great way to use up all those hard-earned apples and pears (ok, you’ll probably have to buy the plums in the store) and will make getting up on these lately very dark mornings (when exactly is daylight savings again?) a whole lot easier!!
I’m new to the making jam thing and I could kick myself for not trying it sooner because homemade jam is so much better tasting than store-bought and it’s super simple to do. Basically the whole thing just cooks itself. All you do is toss fruit, water, lemon zest and juice into a pot, let it cook down, add some sugar, let it cook down again and voila! You’ve got yourself a nice little supply of jam jars!
The combo of apples, pears and plums is sort of tart, sort of sweet and a whole lot of spreadable Fall love! It’s yummy by the spoonful and really livens up a piece of toast! Happiness!
I’m going to keep this post short so you can get yourself out into Nature (or to the supermarket—it’s totally delish with fruit from the store too) and get a little weekend jam project going. I promise that you’re going to love every sticky bit of it!
Autumn Jam (Apples, Pears & Plums)
Makes about 48 ounces or about 6 generous cups
Prep Time: 10 minutes; Cook Time: About 1 1/2 hours
2-3 large pears (about 1 pound—it’s fine if it’s a little over)
2-3 large apples (about 1 pound, again it’s good if it’s a bit over—use whatever variety of apple you like)
5-6 plums (again a generous pound is good and I used yellow fleshed plums but it would be great with any kind)
1 lemon, zested and juiced (I strained the juice so there wouldn’t be pulpy pieces)
5 cups sugar
1. Peel and core the pears and apples and cut them into large chunks. Place into a large heavy-bottomed pot. Peel and remove the pits from the plums, cut them up into chunks too and add to the pot. Add in the zest and lemon juice. Add enough cold water just to cover the fruit. Place the pot over high heat and bring to a boil. Then lower the heat and cook for 30 minutes until the fruit is very soft. Cook for longer if it’s not.
2. While the fruit is boiling place a small plate into the freezer.
3. Once fruit is ready, stir in the sugar all at once and turn the heat to high. Stir to help dissolve the sugar and bring to a boil. Let boil for about 15 minutes and then turn off the heat. Remove the plate from the freezer and place a dab of jam on it. Let sit for 30 seconds or so and run your finger through it. If the jam doesn’t run into the spot where you swiped your finger, it’s set up enough. If it’s still very liquidy, continue to cook it for another 15-20 minutes. In the interim, clean off the plate and return it to the freezer. Check again until the “plate trick” works. Sometimes I need to cook for another 30-40 minutes—just depends on the water content of the fruit and the amount of water you add.
4. Let jam cool in the pan for a bit and then transfer to glass jars to finish cooling completely. When jam is cool, cover with lids and store in the fridge for at least 2 weeks.
Note: Recipe adapted from Not Just Jam by Matthew Evans. The original recipe calls for you to add a “knob” of fresh ginger but I’m not a huge fan so I left that out—feel free to add it if you are. Just take it out when you add the sugar in.