An easy, low sugar jam that tastes even better than the sickly-sweet stuff.
Often jam recipes call for much more sugar that I think is necessary, resulting in a cloyingly sweet jam whose flavour sadly becomes lost. Where some recipes will call for equal measures of fruit and sugar, this one uses half the volume of sugar to fruit which makes for a slightly tart jam that lets the flavour of the plums and spices shine through.
It will still keep for a year on the shelf, but when you do go to use it make sure that you use a clean spoon to dollop jam onto whatever vehicle you have chosen to consume it with, making sure not to contaminate the spoon. I think this little consideration is well worth it – a deliciously flavoursome jam which is lower on sugar. A win-win if you ask me.
GINGER-SPIKED PLUM JAM
Makes 10-12 small jars
2 cinnamon sticks
2 star anise
1 vanilla bean pod
25g fresh ginger, grated
Pre-heat the oven to 100°C. Wash and dry at least 12 jars (I always do a few extra just in case – you don’t want to be caught short) and place them into the oven to sterilise. Put the lids into a heat-proof bowl. You will pour boiling water over these before you screw them onto the full jars of jam.
Wash the plums, remove their stones and roughly chop, putting the fruit into a large preserving pan as you go. Add the sugar, cinnamon sticks, star anise and vanilla bean pod and cook over a medium-high heat, stirring frequently to keep the fruit from catching on the bottom of the pot. Once boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer and continue to cook until it has reached the right consistency when tested. Stir from time to time to stop it from sticking to the bottom of the pot and if scum rises to the surface of the jam, scoop it off using a slotted spoon.
To test whether or not your jam is ready, put a little saucer into the freezer. To check jam, take the cold saucer from the freezer, put a small amount onto it then return to the freezer for 2 minutes. If the jam is thick (the consistency of jam!) and the surface wrinkles when touched then it is ready. Stir in the ginger, pour boiling water over the lids and, using a clean Pyrex jug (I pour boiling water over mine for good measure also!), fill the hot jars and then screw on their lids.