Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Plums and Olive

My landlady recently had a juicy harvest of plums. When she texted me to ask if I had any good plum recipes, I sent her this one and let her know that if she had too many and wanted me to make jam I'd give her some of the bounty when it was finished. She took me up on it (we live around the corner from each other) and I made what I hope isn't my only batch of jam this summer. With the hummingbird due in 11 days, it might be. Or who knows--I might think there's nothing better to do at naptime than turn fruit into preserved spreadable summer.

This one is a standby hit: a little tart, a little sweet, of course depending on the plums you use. This recipe calls for vanilla bean, which I use in moderation because I actually don't like too much vanilla flavor in my jam. I added some white cardamom pods because I had them, and they added a little sass. I'd use them again for sure, and if you don't like cardamom leave them out. You could try a cinnamon stick or just use the vanilla. For stronger cardamom flavor, open the pods and crush the seeds before adding, for a milder one throw the whole pod in there and remove when you remove the vanilla bean.

Plum Jam with Vanilla and Cardamom
adapted from Martha Stewart
makes 4-5 8-oz jars

3 lbs red or black plums, halved, pitted, chopped
3 c sugar
6 2 1/2 in pieces lemon zest, plus 2 T fresh lemon juice
big pinch salt
1 vanilla bean, scraped, seeds reserved (you'll be adding both to jam)
5 white cardamom pods, either whole or seeds removed and crushed (see note above)

Bring all ingredients to boil in large pot, mashing with potato masher or wooden spoon. Cook, stirring frequently, until mixture is texture of thick honey (this usually takes me about 20 minutes); let it be chunky: it's yummy that way. Skim foam off periodically and discard. Remove vanilla bean, cardamom pods, and lemon zest. Either pour into clean containers and refrigerate, or can according to your jam jars' directions.

What's the Olive part of this post? My kitty. Yes. MY kitty. I posted about her not too long ago. I've named her Olive, and the saga of our mutual adoption will be posted in detail tomorrow.

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