Here I am on Friday, after a week of school, chopping and processing plums. Ripe fruit waits for no man. Thank goodness I love doing this and Bop will pick all I need. Today is one batch of plums – seven jars cause that is what fits in my boiling bath.
Processing fruit is fairly easy and plums must be one of the easiest. You don’t have to peel them at all, I love that. This is what I do.
First and foremost is clean, chip free jars. I love using wide mouth jars and pretty much don’t use anything else. I have in the past but prefer wide mouth for easy of getting raw fruit and hot syrup into the jars. Anyway, back to clean jars. This is a must as germs will grow if you don’t. I have also found hand washing the best, after all you are only doing 7 jars. The rings, I wash and set to one side. The sealers, I wash, rinse and then put into a small pot. Always use new sealers, don’t try to get one more use out of used sealers. Cover them with water and set on the stove to heat to boiling. Once boiling turn the heat down to simmer until you are ready to put them on the hot jars.
Get your jars all together, a chopping board and your clean plums. Cut each plum in half and remove the pit; put the two halves into a clean jar. I found that 12 plums generally filled one jar. Once all seven are filled you need to add syrup. This is basically sugar, water and lemon juice; not basically at all, it is just that! I make a very light syrup as we don’t care for a heavy sweet one. For 12 cups water I added 4 cups of sugar and 1/4 cup of lemon juice and bring it to a boil. This should fill all seven jars perfectly.
The big processing pot I will fill partially with warm to hot water because I don’t want to put hot jars (with the boiling syrup) into cold water. Then once all the jars are in add warm water until the rings are covered. Cover and turn up the heat. Once it starts to boil set your timer for 25 minutes.
I put a towel down then remove the jars using a special lifter, you can find them in the canning section of a hardware or grocery store. The jars, the water everything is extremely hot so take extra care.
Sometimes, even when I try very hard not to over fill, the jars will leak out. They will still seal but what a pain! You will need to use soap and water to wash all the jars before you store them.
All the work, mostly standing, is well worth the effort to have all this goodness for the winter to come. Easier on the grocery bill too.