A little jarred
Monday July 02nd 2012, 11:24 pm
Filed under: Food,Friends,Life

Many years ago–Richard thinks 20–our neighbor knocked on the door with a bag of plums from his tree, wondering if we and our children might like some?

The childhood memories that brought back! I made plum jam in great delight–did you know having the skins pureed in there gives a sour-cherries effect? I showed up on his and his wife’s doorstep with a bottle; he thought that was great and promptly gave us more when his wife wasn’t looking. She was embarrassed, but I assured her quite honestly that please, no, I was thrilled! And so they got a bottle from that batch, too.

But we’re certainly not the only ones around for them to share with.

I wanted a steady supply of my own. And so, my kids gave me a Santa Rosa plum tree for Mother’s Day a few years ago, to my intense delight. This year it was producing for the first time. The squirrels stripped my Fuji apple next to it, day by day, but the plums they left alone.

Until they didn’t. Several dozen newly purple were suddenly just three. I was disappointed but not terribly surprised.

And yet. That very afternoon, while I was off running errands, the phone rang and my daughter answered. I came home to a bag and a bowl full of plums and a message…that… They have some worries to worry about. The fruit became the way to share the message.

I needed to do something.

That was Friday. With the wedding Saturday, then a family barbecue thrown by my niece and all the other things going on this weekend, today I finally got down to business.

It’s been awhile. I realized I was a bit out of practice–I had to doublecheck the instructions rather than just breeze through, making sure I didn’t forget any steps.

My mom always taught me that after you fill and wipe and close up the jars, you twist the screw-on part all the way–and then back it up just a nudge. Turn the jar over and let the heat of the jam help make sure that top is truly sanitized, then when the jar is cool, flip it back over and tighten that thing good and tight now. Wait a few hours and then that reassuring pop pop from the kitchen as each seal becomes sure.

Did I overcook it? The jam must have compacted quite a bit in the settling, I filled those jars up a lot more than that. I don’t remember seeing quite this effect before.

The neighbor, pleased, declared her halfpint cute.

11 Comments so far
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One of the jars of apricot jam that my mom gave us last summer did the same thing! Don’t know why, but it sure tastes good.

Comment by Kathy in San Jose 07.03.12 @ 12:21 am

I’m sure your jam was amazingly delicious! 🙂

Comment by Kelli King 07.03.12 @ 12:57 am

must have created a really strong vacuum — and that’s a good thing for a good seal

when my daughter went to Idaho to visit her in laws last year she brought home a big bag of plums — we’re still enjoying the jam!

Comment by Bev 07.03.12 @ 6:39 am

We are currently enjoying some super strawberry jam the Knight found at a fruit stand in his travels. Ahhhh…

Comment by Channon 07.03.12 @ 7:26 am

My hucklebberry jam is syrup but the huckleberry/blackberry is really jam. Either way, it is hard to beat homemade jam.

Comment by Sherry in Idaho 07.03.12 @ 8:18 am

A friend, no longer around, used to make us apricot preserves from the apricots on her own tree. Not too thick. Oh, yum!

Comment by Don Meyer 07.03.12 @ 9:01 am

Wow! Vacuum sealed for sure and certain! I love that pop pop sound… maybe I can gather energy to do a little canning of my own this year. I miss cherry jam and all the store and even farmers market kind has lemon juice or citric acid in it.
And maybe I can wrangle a way to make one of Oscar’s favorites too. He has a lot of favorites to choose from!

Comment by Diana Troldahl 07.03.12 @ 12:53 pm

forgot to add, my secret to specially good jam is a drop of vanilla just after you take it off the heat.
My neighbor used to love my currant jelly..

Comment by Diana Troldahl 07.03.12 @ 12:54 pm

Cherry jam. Oooooooh my. Anyone know where I can get a cherry otters. I might do that when I’m down in the basement thinking “big” thoughts over the washer…..

Comment by Afton 07.03.12 @ 2:30 pm

Yummy! I make plum-(or pluot) raspberry jam. And fill to within 1/8 inch of the top and use your mother’s turnover trick too. And, yes, once in a while it just shrinks. Never had a jar spoil in the 28 years I’ve made it.

Comment by DebbieR 07.03.12 @ 3:04 pm

Fruit from one’s own tree seems like a treasure hunt to me, like finding quarters on the sidewalk. It is lovely to think of you enjoying it!

Comment by twinsetellen 07.03.12 @ 9:10 pm

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