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Plum Crazy | Taking the Leap and Learning As I Go

One of the many not-for-profits that I work with is Middlewest Film Institute. It is a new organization located in the Fountain Square area. As a Board member, I meet with the group every few weeks as we establish our programming and develop our long-term strategy. A few weeks ago we met at the founders house and much to my delight, he has a “community” plum tree a few houses down that no one else seems to care much about – jackpot for this canning gal!!!

So, Phil and I set off on an adventure to pick as many plums as we could possibly get into two plastic grocery bags. I must say it brought back so many great memories of when I was a child and we would go pick sand plums on the side of the road at the end of Little Road where I grew up. We couldn’t wait to take them home and make jelly with mom and dad. While we were picking them, one of Ray and Phil’s neighbors came out to chat and ended up picking a few for herself – proof that fresh food can bring communities together!!!

Speaking of communities, I only had one night to can the jelly because we were headed out of town for vacation in two days…nothing like a little pressure to get you going! The evening that I made the jelly, I had several visitors for various reasons but all of them ended up pitching in to help in the process – again, creating a community…just sayin’…!!!

Since it had been so long since I last canned plum jelly, I started looking for recipes online. Much to my dismay, none of them seemed reasonable as the primary task was to pit the plums before cooking them – what?!?! There was no way that was going to happen so I did the only thing a girl should do in this situation…I called mom. After she giggled at me and confirmed my suspicion, I was back on track. Below is the recipe that I used.

Plum Jelly

What You Need: plums, sugar, fruit pectin, canning jars and lids

  1. Remove the stems from the plums and place in a large stockpot.
  2. Just barely cover them with water and bring to a boil, about 30 minutes.
  3. Run plums through a sieve to separate out the pits.
  4. Strain through a cheesecloth or jelly bag…neither hold a lot and I have seen that others use a pillowcase so I may try this next time.
  5. Place the strained sauce back into the stockpot and add the correct amount of pectin for the volume of plums you have.
  6. Add sugar based on taste (I used about 4 cups of sugar for the amount of plums I had – see photo).
  7. Allow to thicken a bit and pour into sterilized canning jars.

I have to say that this was definitely a team sport so if you have friends or family, enlist them in this process – it makes it much more fun! Homemade plum jelly is definitely one of my favorite jellies and I have really been enjoying it on everything from PB&J’s to flour tortillas and my BelVita morning bars.

Canning jelly is such an easy process. If you have ever considered doing it but haven’t made that leap, just do it!!! You will be so happy you took the time to make your own jelly.