At the moment, it feels like summer and autumn have collided. We are well into autumn and I went to the beach 3 times last week. Sydney has been gorgeous with sunny days and blue skies. I’m so grateful that the weather is still glorious and I’m determined to spend lots of time outside enjoying it.
The summer’s bounty of mangoes, peaches and nectarines have ended… but we still have plums, figs and berries. Plus new season pears, apples, pomegranates and quinces. I loved seeing them at the farmers market all at the same time. To me, this is the perfect time to do some preserving!
I love preserving some of summer’s best produce in jams and pickles to enjoy for a little longer. I picked up some tiny ‘imperfect’ plums from Harris Farm. They were half the price of the normal plums and saved them from going into landfill – win win. My intention was to make a batch of jam, so I didn’t really care what they looked like!
This time I wanted to try a slightly different technique with my jam making. It was an experiment that worked out really well. I feel like have hacked the jam making process! I roasted the plums first, before making the jam. The idea was to bring out their natural sweetness and intensify the flavour without adding a ton of sugar, and it worked!
I loosely based this recipe off one which called for 1.5 kilograms of sugar, or over 3 pounds. When making jam it’s not unusual to use a 1:1 fruit to sugar ratio but I often try to reduce that amount without affecting the integrity or taste of the jam.
My Roasted Spiced Plum Jam recipe used 1 kilo of plums and less than 1 cup of sugar and it was still plenty sweet. I actually had to balance out the sweetness with a little red wine vinegar, but this added a beautiful complexity to the taste of the jam. If you also enjoy fruit and vinegar, have you ever thought about making a shrub?
I think this method could work well with other types of fruit too. I’m already a huge fan of roasted strawberries, figs, cherries and rhubarb. I think they would all be delicious in jam form as well. The oven does most of the work, so the actual jam making part is very quick.
I wanted my Spiced Plum Jam to have a warm Chai inspired flavour. Cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, star anise and of course, vanilla are all lovely with plums. I used them both in the roasting step and the jam making step. You could use whatever you like – even some more unusual flavours like black tea, bay leaves, rosemary, fennel seeds or some black or pink peppercorns would also work well here.
I also added a splash of a Tawny liqueur from Orange but you can use whatever dessert wine you like – Marsala, Port or even red wine would work well here too. All the alcohol does get cooked out, but if you prefer, you can omit it or replace with an equal amount of brewed chai tea.
I look forward to spreading this jam on my toast on cold winter mornings and remembering how lovely the weather was when I made it. It would also make a very excellent and thoughtful homemade Mother’s Day present. I love gifting a jar of almost every homemade jam or pickle I make to my parents. My Mum especially loves a good jam and I just know she will love this one!
Related Post: Homemade Tomato & Chilli Jam
Roasted Spiced Plum Jam
My Roasted Spiced Plum Jam is a twist on the traditional method of making jam. Roasting the fruit brings out the natural sweetness and means you can use much less added sugar. This jam would be a perfect Mother’s Day gift!
- 1 kg plums, halved or quartered
- 2 tablespoons raw sugar
- 15 cardamom pods
- 10 cloves
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract
- 1/3 cup orange juice
- 3/4 cup caster sugar
- 1/4 cup dessert wine
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 4 cloves
- 1 star anise
- 8 cardamom pods
- 1/4 cup water
- 1-2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
Preheat the oven to 170°C (340°F). Place the plums cut side up on a roasting tray lined with non-stick baking paper. Sprinkle over the sugar and spices and roast for 40 minutes or until soft and caramelised.
Carefully remove all the spices from the tray and place the plums and the juice into a large saucepan. Meanwhile, tie the cinnamon sticks, cloves, star anise and cardamom in a piece of muslin.
Add the vanilla, orange juice, caster sugar and dessert wine and the muslin bag to the saucepan and stir over high heat without boiling until sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil and add water and red wine vinegar and cook for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the jam thickens and jells when tested (see note).
Remove and discard the muslin bag. Pour the hot jam into hot sterilised jars and seal immediately.
To test if the jam has jelled, place a small plate in the freezer until chilled. Place a spoonful of jam onto the chilled plate and wait for a few minutes. Run a finger through the jam and if it wrinkles, it is ready.