I received two jars of delicious Thermomix-made jam for Christmas. I know the Thermomix is a whiz-bang machine, and heaven knows it would have been a huge timesaver in my kitchen when I was working from dawn till midnight and didn’t have time to cook. I’m all too aware of how important it is to optimise time when one is busy, however, there is something very homely and purposeful about making jam the old fashioned way without any time constraints. So, inspired by the two jars of jam, the plum-laden fruit tree just outside our kitchen window, and the knowledge that I can do anything a Thermomix can do, I decided to make jam!
Having never made ‘proper’ jam before (not on purpose anyway ~ occasionally my sweet sauces do get a bit jammy!), I did some leafing through old recipe books and online searches, and came up with this little gem of a recipe from NatashasKitchen.com, which I will call: Two-Day Plum Jam.
And so with Hubby’s help, the picking, washing, cutting and weighing began. I must say, it’s a very companionable job filled with heaps of anticipation. Making jam from scratch is hugely satisfying, especially from your own fruit trees … the scrubbing and chopping of luscious ripe fruit, the measuring of ingredients, getting out the huge pot, and then stirring, salivating and tasting as it bubbles away changing from plump pieces of fruit to a concentrated mix of rich flavour and aroma.
Now this does take two days to make, but as it only requires a total of 40 minutes cooking time over those two days, it’s very easy and worth it just for the joy of the experience. As I have discovered in life, taking the time to do something unhurriedly and with purpose has a lot going for it. Many years ago when my father was growing vegetables we stood together at his kitchen bench while he was cutting his home-grown beans. He took each bean, and with great purpose, slowly cut off the top and bottom. I watched him for about 30 seconds, and then impatiently grabbed a handful and chopped off the tops and bottoms. He looked up at me and slowly said, “Insi Insi, you in a rush!” And he was right, I was! But I get it now Dad. By cutting his beans one by one, he was savouring the moment and appreciating the satisfaction of having lovingly planted, nurtured and picked every one of those little beans. He was taking his time and enjoying it, and in my rush, all I was doing was cutting beans. He clearly knew there was much to be gained by slowing down, being fully present in the moment, and appreciating what he was doing.
So now, here is the recipe:
Two-Day Plum Jam
- 4 kg red ripe plums (or you can use peaches or apricots)
- 4-6 cups of castor sugar, depending on the sweetness of the plums. In fact, you may even need more sugar. Plums are naturally on the tart side so keep adding until you are satisfied with the sweetness.
- Note: If making peach jam using the same method (and it is delicious!) you will need 2.5 kg peaches to about 2-3 cups castor sugar
- Wash, pit and cut up the plums
- In a large bowl, place a layer of plums and sprinkle with sugar. Repeat the process with all the plums and sugar. Let them sit uncovered for about an hour so that the plums begin to create a sugary juice.
- Transfer the plums and the juice to a large cooking pot, and bring it to the boil uncovered, stirring occasionally until mixture is bubbling uniformly. Simmer for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally and scrape the bottom to ensure it doesn’t burn. Then turn off the heat. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature.
- Now this is why it takes two days ~ you need to repeat Step 3 a minimum of four times ~ more if you want a thicker jam. Taste the mixture each time and add more sugar if required. On the final simmer, bring it to the boil on low to ensure it doesn’t burn and stir frequently.
Now all you have to do is prepare the jars and fill with your delicious jam. Not being one to make preserves or do any bottling, I don’t sterilize jars ~ too much fiddling around, and I don’t have the right jars anyway, so I freeze it … shock horror I hear all the purists say, but it works for me!
And so the moral of the story is who needs a Thermomix when you can spend two delightful days making jam! Experiencing the joy of nature’s bounty and filling your kitchen with the sweet fragrance of delicious anticipation. It’s all about stretching the pleasure. When you are in that moment, it really doesn’t get any better than that. So if you’re in a rush, stop occasionally and appreciate the moments. It’s worth it.
Inara Hawley © 2015
With thanks for the original recipe from NatashasKitchen.com.