Last summer, we noticed a small shrub in our parking lot that appeared to be covered in plums. We investigated (and Googled!) and decided they were plums, and we ate them! Delicious. A few days later, we discovered a large plum tree, covered in ripe plums, growing in a hidden corner. (Right behind the dumpster enclosure...so scenic!)
Y'all, I was so excited! Those of you who live in less extreme environments are probably wondering how we didn't already know about these plums. We live at 7,000 feet, in a high-alpine environment, where the winters are long and the springs are very unpredictable. Usually, after spring makes her first appearance, we'll start to see pretty flowers on the trees, and then we'll get a hard freeze, or a big snowstorm, or both! Ouch. So, "fruit" trees usually don't manage to make fruit around here. It takes an unusually warm spring for those flowers to last long enough to make fruit.
I came back to work over the weekend with a big box, and collected as many plums as I could easily reach. I had 4.5 pounds after only twenty minutes! I took them home, called my most-talented cooking and baking friend for a jam recipe, and got to work! It was so easy to make, and now I'm on the lookout for more sneaky trees full of fruit! I'll be introducing myself to several folks along my bike route and asking permission to pick fruit for the rest of the month.
As I was tucking the scrap of paper with the plum jam recipe into the back of my Fannie Farmer Cookbook, where I keep all the scraps of paper with all the other recipes I've gathered from friends and family over the years, I realized I was missing out on a chance to organize something! We know you love to plan and organize as much as we do, so we created these cute and very functional recipe cards for you! They are simple to print and cut, and will look so sweet stacked in a berry basket or recipe tin. We hope you enjoy them as much as we enjoyed making them! I'll be using them to finally organize and beautify all those recipes.
Simply click here to download the printable PDF. The file is set up with four cards per 8.5x11 page. We recommend printing on a sturdy cardstock so your cards are durable! A printed set, tied with a bit of baker's twine, would also make a sweet and kind gift.
P.S. Want a great plum jam recipe? Here's what I followed:
Ingredients: Plums, sugar
Tools: Mesh colander, potato masher, large bowl, saute pan, small plate, jam jars
Note: 4.5 pounds plums will make about five, 12 oz jam jars worth.
1) Set a large pot of water to boil on the stove. You'll need a pot large enough to hold and cover all the plums, or you'll have to work in batches.
2) Rinse all the plums, then drop them into the gently boiling water. Boil until the plums become soft. Some of the skins will begin to peel off.
3) Pour the plums into the mesh colander to drain, then set the drained colander over a large bowl.
4) Using the potato masher, mash the plums. You can pick the pits out with a spoon or your fingers. Use the masher to press the plums through the mesh of the colander until only some skins remain.
5) Mix the plum mash with sugar, using 2/3 cup sugar for every 1 cup mash.
6) Pour the mixture into the saute pan, and bring to a gentle boil. Boil until the jam reaches the desired consistency. Mine took about 30 minutes. Stir regularly during this time.
Note: To test for consistency, place your small plate in the freezer. As the jam starts to thicken, dribble a spoonful onto the cold plate. You should be able to drag a spoon or finger through the jam and leave a track, rather than having it quickly fill back in.
7) You may choose to skim off the foam that will develop as the mixture boils. You can leave it in (it will just leave cloudy streaks in the jam) or skim it off the mixture to preserve a more jewel-like jam appearance. The foam is harmless and edible!
8) Ladle the completed jam into the jam jars. You may choose to can this jam, or simply freeze the jars until you are ready to eat your jam!