Two or three days ago I stole some plums off a neglected allotment and made some plum jam. I needed to make some fast because I've entered the stoned fruit jam class in the Garden Show next weekend. I was hoping to buy some plums by the side of the road on my way back from the Dauntsey car boot sale, like I did last year, but that house is up for sale and there has been no sign of the little girl's stall.
I'd had my eye on these plums for a while - they are beautiful purple ones, with a blue bloom. So had a lot of other people, including the Allotment Officer and the Site Rep! But I got there first, and just in time, because they were dropping on to the ground. It was drizzling, and I had my baseball cap on and my hood up, just in case I was spotted!
The recipe for plum jam is very simple: 1lb plums to 1lb sugar. But I managed to burn mine. Marguerite Patten suggests you put 4-5 tablespoons water per ilb plums into the preserving pan. I put in only 5 tablespoons water to 2 lbs plums, and I think that's why the jam burned. Plus I was using a thermometer which wasn't doing its job. I have trouble on my cooker at getting the jam to the right temperature, because the big rings are at the back, and the small ones at the front aren't powerful enough (that's not all that's wrong with my cooker, but I did get it for virtually nothing, and at least it works, unlike some my mother had when I was growing up). But anyhow, the jam tasted all right. Whether it will win a prize or not is another matter. We shall see.