20 August 2013

Wild Plum Jelly

We love a good adventure, especially if it involves being outside and especially if it involves food.  The last few weeks, Jack's been pointing out the numerous wild plum trees in our neck of the woods.
A few Saturdays ago, we decided to take a family outing to harvest some of Mother Nature's free fruit.  Easier than it would sound.
A majority of the trees lined the interstate or were quite a hike off obscure back roads.  Jack lead us down a one lane road that probably only hobos, people who dump their mattresses in ditches and the guy who changes a billboard near the interstate uses.  I'm just glad we made it out alive, considering the 1,500 point turn it took to get turned around and the car-eating pothole we were able to avoid.  Twice.
There weren't even any plums down this way!
In the end, it was worth it.  We collected a few bagfuls of the tart little fruits, let them ripen and now have probably a year's worth of wild plum jelly that is delicious on everything from homemade toast to crepes, pancakes or cornbread.  Are you up for an adventure of your own?
Ingredients:

5 pounds ripe plums, halved and pitted
4 cups water
1 package (1 3/4 oz) fruit pectin
6 to 7 1/2 cups sugar (to taste--we like ours a little more tart than sweet)
In a large pot, simmer plums and water until tender, about 30 minutes.  Line a large strainer with several layers of cheesecloth or a clean tea towel.  Blend plum mixture until smooth and strain through the cloth until liquid measures about 5 1/2 cups.

Return liquid to the pan, add pectin and stir occasionally while bringing to a boil.  Add sugar and return to a full rolling boil for one minute, stirring constantly.
Remove from heat and pour into sterilized jars (leave 1/4 inch head space).  Process cans to seal.  Makes about four pints.
Enjoy!

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