While I’m mostly inclined to continue that title phrase by busting out a little Stevie Wonder, I had actually planned to go a different route.
For once in my life I’ve had the sense to make jam on a day that doesn’t register as one of the hottest days of the year. Well not yet, anyway. I’m sure the thermometer will soon spike, and I’ll be left to finish my project in a hot, humid, sticky kitchen, without the faintest relief-breeze.
But in the meantime, I’m going to thoroughly enjoy the cool air next to my jam pot. I really haven’t made much jam this year, which is totally out of character. In fact the only jam I’ve made is strawberry. But then I saw the Elephant Heart plums that Blossom Bluff Orchards had on display last Tuesday at the farmer’s market. And I thought to myself, “I just can’t go a whole year without that plum jam”. So I bought a flat and got busy.
Elephant Heart plums are my favorite. Their skins are vaguely grayish-purple with dark speckles, and their flesh is ruby-red. They are sweet, but with an edge of tartness, and they have an almost raspberry-like brightness to their flavor. I just love them. And of course the jam turns a brilliant red that manages to uplift even the dimmest of winter mornings.
Plum Jam To Keep You Cheerful Through the Winter
- 10 pounds plums (yielded 16 cups pitted and chunked)
- 5-6 cups sugar
- 3 pods of cardamom-optional (because I’m a good Norwegian girl)
Place the plums and the 4 cups of the sugar in a large (I used a 10-quart) pot and turn the heat on high. Stir regularly until the sugar is completely melted and the plums begin to lose their juice.
Bring the fruit and sugar to a boil and skim any foam that rises. Taste for sweetness. Remember that the jam will taste less sweet once it has cooled. Add up to 2 more cups sugar if necessary. Add the cardmom pods.
Continue cooking at the boil, stirring regularly to prevent sticking. As the jam reduces in volume, you’ll need to turn down the heat- it will continue to boil even over medium-low heat. Be sure to stir constantly with a rubber spatula, and be VERY CAREFUL around the hot jam-it will splatter somewhat as it boils. Wear long kitchen gloves or a towel over your hand so the lava-like splatters don’t burn you. Reduce to the desired viscosity (*do a freezer test to help determine how thick the jam will be once it has cooled). Ladle into sterilized jars and either freeze or process in a boiling water bath.