Wild Plums are a new discovery for me. A few weeks ago, I was on a walk with my granddaughter when we saw these pretty purple, red and yellow fruit growing in the open space. I brought a few back to house and identified them. Wild Plums! My daughter and her family walked to open space to pick several pounds of fruit. We were cautiously optimistic and decided to make a trial batch from the few ripe plums. We left the skins on for the trial. It was delicious but and we did not like the texture of the cooked skins.
A week later, the rest of the plums were ripe and we decided to make and can the jam, using a food strainer to remove the skins. My Mom’s trusty food strainer did the trick!
The jam is pretty and tart. I can’t wait to try it on breakfast toast, pancakes, or perhaps with a mild cheese.
Finding these little gems caused interest in the history of the wild plum and how Native Americans and our ancestors may have used them. Wild Plums appear to grow in many states. The Minnesota Conservation Volunteer published an interesting history.
WILD PLUM JAM
5 pounds Wild Plums
5 cups sugar (the original recipe called for 10 cups of sugar)
4.5 tablespoons lemon juice
Pit the plums and place them into a thick bottomed pot.
Add in the lemon juice and cook for a few minutes, until the plums begin to release their juices.
Add in sugar and stir. Simmer, stirring often for about 10 minutes.1/2 to compensate for the naturally sweeter fruit.
When the jam thickens, pour the hot jam into a food sieve. Press to remove the juice and pulp. Discard the remaining skins. Put back on heat to assure the jam returns to temperature.
Pour the hot jam into prepared canning jars. At this point, the jam can either be stored in the refrigerator or processed for 10 minutes in a water bath canner.
After a 10 minute process, turn off the heat, wait 5 more minutes and then remove the jars from the canner.
Allow the jars to cool, and after 24 hours place any unsealed jars in the refrigerator and use within a few weeks.
Recipe adapted from Earthfoodandfire.com