25 June 2013

Plum Ginger Jam


While I will admit to spending a lot of time thinking about what we don't have here in Algeria (see: nightlife, peanut butter, pork), spring and early summer here are a great reminder of the things we do have. A beautiful city, full of greenery and flowers, a few cool spots, delicious local bread, and an amazing variety of fruits with flavors so fresh and vibrant, you'd never find them State-side. These fruits also go bad in about 2.5 days. So, the season for canning is upon us.


I have a batch of apricot jam macerating as I speak (a Christine Ferber recipe), and my first jam of the season was this plum ginger variety. Paul loves plums, but I will admit they aren't my favorite fruit to eat out of hand. I'll go for strawberries (still in season here) and those early summer doughnut peaches over plums any day. But they seem just lovely for jam. Their deep red holds up to strong flavors, in this case, ginger. This jam was a little on the tart side, which I like because it's perfect for sandwiching in biscuits, but you can add more sugar if you like it sweeter.


Plum Ginger Jam
If you prefer a sweeter jam you can increase the sugar to 500 grams. I was low in sugar when I made this and ended up using about 1/3 brown sugar and 2/3 regular sugar, I think it's probably delicious either way so it's up to you if you want to use all white sugar or a mix.

700 grams red plums
425 grams sugar
small knob of fresh ginger (about 3 cm square), peeled and minced

1. Halve and pit plums, placing them into a large heavy-bottomed pot. Add the sugar, ginger, and stir to mix. Let macerate for 1-2 hours on the counter. While it's macerating, cut a round of parchment large enough to cover the pan, and cut a small hole in the middle of your parchment circle.
2. Place jam on the stovetop and bring to a low simmer. Place the parchment circle over the pot. Place a small plate in the freezer. Let the jam simmer over low heat for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, stirring occasionally. When the jam is deep red and thick, place a few drops of the jam onto the plate you have in the freezer. If the jam gels, you know that it's ready. If it doesn't gel, then keep cooking slowly until it does (as a side note, it's not the end of the world if your jam doesn't gel, use your judgement, and as long as it tastes delicious you'll probably be okay).
3. Transfer jam to glass jars, you can process the jars for canning, or simply keep the jam as is. This makes about 2 8-oz jars, so we kept one for eating and stuck the other in the freezer for later.

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