Straight up Greengage jam

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Finally! whew! I didn’t think i would be gone this long. but on labor day weekend i had a few friends over to a little shindig M and I have been planning for a few months: it’s kept me kinda busy. here’s the thing: even though i haven’t been telling you about it i’ve been jammin’ in more ways then one these past few weeks!

I made a blueberry marmalade that has just the right lemony tang and is bursting with berryness, but i don’t know – maybe 2009 is a little long in the tooth to be talking about blueberries still…maybe i’ll just tuck that into the back of my larder and tell you about it next year.

whadya think? meanwhile summer’s casting it’s sidewaze glance and i’m actually feelin’ kind of plummy about it. greengage that is.

here’s how it went down: due to the above mentioned shindig – M and i cut our summer in the berkshires short, so for the first time in years we went to the union square green market. talk about a horn 0′ plenty! If you ever get to nyc you really gotta go, made me forget all about my garden woes.

Especially when i saw their shiny green faces smiling up at me! i mean, i’ve heard from numerous reliable sources that these little babies are la creme de la creme of jamming plums. so of course i had to buy a few pounds and see for myself.

And yourself too…’cause plums are the easiest fruit to jam, with all the inherent pectin plums have, they practically jam themselves. and these greengages are quite easy to prep as the flesh doesn’t cling to the stone.

I played with the idea of adding some herbs or spice; lavender, vanilla, anise hyssop, allspice or nutmeg even. but in the end i couldn’t bring myself to do it. i mean, if i hear one more person, or read one more book that touts the superiority of the mighty greengage without first hand experience well then I’m not worth a sugar am i?

And guess what? all that hype about greengages being the plum to jam? well…. I have to kind of agree. adapted from mes confitures by christine ferber

5 1/2 pounds greengage plums (ripe but firm)
6 1/2 cups sugar (i use raw)
1 large lemon
6 pint mason jars, or 12 1/2 pint.
2-3 small plates

yields approximately 6 pints

Day one
1. rinse plums quickly in cold water and dry. cut in half remove stone and cut each half in half.

2. combine fruit, sugar and juice from lemon in bowl. give it a gently stir and let macerate for 1 hour

3. pour in jamming pan and bring to a simmer. let cool, pour back in bowl and place in fridge overnight.

Day two
1. place plates in freezer to be ready to check set later on. place cleaned mason jars in canning pot and bring to the boil. boil for 10 minutes to sterilize. go here for details on hot water bath canning.

2. while jars are boiling drain the syrup from the plums. i do this by placing a large colander in a bowl and first taking plums out of bowl with slotted spoon and placing in colander. let them drain for a minute. then pour all of the syrup less the plums into jamming pan and bring to the boil. boil on high heat until the syrup reaches 221 degrees.

3. return the plums to the syrup and bring back to the boil. boil on high for 5-6 minutes stirring gently.

4. check the set by placing a teaspoon of jam on a frozen plate and placing plate back in freezer for 1 minute. take the plate out and run your finger through jam, if properly set the jam will wrinkle under your finger.

5. fill the hot jars one by one, seal and process in a hot water bath for 5 minutes.

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