We call this plum, orange and cardamom jam, ‘Christmas Jam’ and if you make it you’ll understand why. We first made this last autumn in late September and the whole house smelt of Christmas in the most fabulous way. So if you have plums in the freezer get them out and give this a whirl.
This recipe is one of Diana Henry’s in a lovely book called ‘salt sugar smoke’ and it is all about preserving fruit, vegetables, meat and fish. We’ve not used it anywhere near enough yet but this recipe is just wonderful.
Marmalade is great on toast but this jam is possibly way better and of course, there’s also the smell, did I mention the smell? I’d love to bottle the smell of this cooking.
- 4 thin-skinned organic oranges
- 1.2kg or 2lb 12oz plums
- juice of 2 limes and 1 orange
- ground seeds of about 20 cardamom pods
- 800g (1lb 12oz) granulated sugar
Before you start, put your jam pots to warm ready for the jam when its done.
Start by slicing your oranges into really thin slices, removing any seeds as you go. Cut the slices into quarters and pop them in a pan with 150ml (5fl oz) of water. Bring the oranges and water to the boil, then reduce the heat, add a lid and cook the orange quarters for about 20 minutes until they are soft. The idea is to have the same amount of fluid at the end that you started out with so you may need to add a drop more.
While the orange is cooking, chop the plums in half, removing the stones and cut them up into slices too. Put the plums into a preserving pan along with the oranges and water, the orange juice, half of the lime juice, and the ground cardamom.
Bring the mixture up to the boil. Once it’s reached boiling point, lower the heat and simmer gently until the plums are soft – about 15-20 minutes. The kitchen will now smell delicious and it will begin to permeate through the house – enjoy.
Now add the sugar and simmer gently stirring all the time to dissolve the sugar. When the sugar has all dissolved, bring the mixture to the boil and keep it at a boil until it reaches setting point. I use a thermometer but also the old-fashioned wrinkle test.
Once it’s reached setting point remove from the heat, skimming of any scum from the top before adding the last of the lime juice.
Pot up the jam into dry sterile jars, cover and seal. This jam needs to be refrigerated once you open it but keeps well in the larder for up to a year – if you can manage to leave it alone that long.
Then just enjoy! Especially enjoy the smell of Christmas each time you take the lid off. This would make a lovely gift for Christmas too.