Plum Jam

I love the mild months of spring, but dread when those days end and the hot summer months begin.  The fruits and vegetables that ripen in those hot and sweaty months, however, get me through it.  Plums produce some of the first “recompense” fruits.  These plums, ripened right on the tree, keep me from getting the inferior sour-tasting fruits from the market, and give me something to look forward to every year.

Plum trees, however, tend to produce fruit that ripen at the same time bringing an abundance of fruit and only a couple days to enjoy.  Luckily, plums retain much of that summer goodness when put up as jellies, jams, and preserves allowing me to enjoy the taste of summer well into the cool winter months.

Beautiful Methley plums all ripening on the tree.
Beautiful Methley plums all ripening on the tree.

The plum fruit’s high amount of pectin brings joy to any canner.  In fact, plum jams and preserves require no added pectin.  With less pectin required, less sugar is needed which results in a fruity product that is not overpowered by sweetness .  Plums have the highest pectin content when just ripe, but not overly ripe and very soft.

Plum jam atop homemade bread: a combination hard to beat.

This recipe includes the simplest ingredients using only plums, sugar, and a little lemon juice for acid.  If you wish to add another dimension to the party, spices such as cinnamon and five spice, and even vanilla, work very well with the fruit.

Plum Jam

The plum’s high amount of pectin brings joy to any canner.  In fact, plum jam requires no added pectin. This recipe uses just 3 simple ingredients.
Course Condiment
Cuisine American


  • 4 lbs. peeled seeded, and crushed plums (crushing helps with the seeding)
  • 3 lbs. Sugar
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice


  • Sterilize jars and setup canning equipment.
  • Combine ingredients into a large saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring frequently to dissolve sugar.
  • Once a boil is reached, reduce temperature to medium-high and continue to stir frequently to prevent burning.
  • Reduce syrup until the jelly stage is reached.  (The spoon test and the freezer test work well, but since I know there is enough pectin, reading the temperature is the easiest method for me.  The syrup should read 8° above boiling point, 220° at sea level.  Be careful not to get the temperature too high, 223° is the thread stage in candy making! Invest in a good thermometer; you’ll be glad you did.)
  • Fill jars to ¼ inch from the top and boil in a hot water canner for 5 minutes (10 minutes above 1000 feet, 15 minutes above 6000 feet).


Makes: 9 half-pint jars or about 4 pint jars
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Messing the kitchen up, busy preserving the harvest.

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  1. Margie Brewer says:

    I was less than happy with my plum jam last year. I put in the ingredients as called for and it never really got that thickness I expected. It was more spoon than knife jam. and the color was off.

    1. We have to let ours reduce a little more than you would think. I think that helps a lot. Plums seem to have enough pectin, but sometimes they do need a little more. Maybe for assurance, put about 3 ounces of liquid pectin in next time. I hope it turns out better for you this year Margie.

    1. Pies are fantastic using plums Jammie! I’d love a piece now.

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