A bag of plums from our friends’ tree is a welcome gift this week. Italian prune plums are like late-season zucchini right now: in abundance! And I appreciate how versatile these little beauties are for snacking, baking, pickling and jamming. Not too sweet and full of luscious flavor, they take well to different spices and can go both sweet and savory.
Even though we are relishing our late summer sun and warm air, I am beginning to crave the fall flavors that are just around the corner. Dare I say it? Soups and stews are on my mind, even as I slip on my flip-flops. I baked the first apple cobbler of the season this week and now warm spices, such as cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg are filling my thoughts. Oh, and pumpkin pie. Soon enough!
With autumn tastes swirling in my head, I gaze at the bowl of purple plums, eat a couple and ponder how to transform them. I didn’t make nearly enough jam over the summer, so to hold onto these last whispers of summer but also welcome fall, I decide on a jam spiced with ginger, cardamom and cloves. Buckwheat honey from our Rosh Hashanah dipping adds a touch of dark, earthy sweetness.
Fragrant, rosy, lightly spiced and bursting with fresh plum goodness, it made a delightful breakfast this morning when spread on a sea salt baguette (a Mazama Store favorite) alongside a steaming cup of green tea. I’ll be making this jam again before the season ends (and I wouldn’t say no to another bag of plums either ...).
Autumn Spiced Plum Jam
Makes 1 pint
2 pounds Italian prune plums, pitted and chopped into halves, or quarters if large
1/4 cup honey
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Have ready a clean, sterilized pint jar and lid. In a large sauce pan, combine all of the ingredients over medium high heat and stir. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and let cook at a lightly bubbling simmer for about half an hour, stirring often to break down the fruit. Watch closely to be sure it does not begin to scorch and lower the heat further if needed. When the plums begin to thicken and coat a wooden spoon and have a jam-like consistency, remove from heat and let cool. Spoon the jam into the pint jar, cover and store in the fridge for up to one month.