If you’re lucky enough to have a plum tree (or have a friend who does), and you have access to a good quantity of fresh plums in season, give this gorgeous, deep-purple jelly a try. Laced with the subtle, quietly complex flavor of cardamom, this jelly is a sophisticated accompaniment to scones at breakfast or afternoon tea.
- For the calcium water:
- 1/2 tsp. calcium powder
- 1/2 cup water
- 4 lb. ripe, sweet plums
- 1 1/4 cups water
- 1 1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1 cup honey
- 5 tsp. Pomona's universal pectin
To prepare the calcium water, in a small, clear jar with a lid, combine the calcium powder and the 1/2 cup water. Shake well. You will need 5 tsp. calcium water for this recipe; store the extra in the refrigerator for future use.
Wash 4 or 5 half-pint jars, lids and bands. Place the jars in a canner, fill the canner two-thirds full with water and bring to a rolling boil. Boil the jars for 10 minutes to sterilize them. (Add 1 extra minute of sterilizing time for every 1,000 feet above sea level.) Reduce the heat and allow the jars to remain in the hot canner water until ready to use. Place the lids in water in a small saucepan, heat to a low simmer and hold until ready to use.
Rinse the plums, remove the pits and quarter the plums.
In a saucepan, combine the plum quarters with the 1 1/4 cups water. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until the fruit is soft, 7 to 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and mash the plums.
Transfer the mashed fruit to a damp jelly bag or layered cheesecloth, suspend over a bowl and allow the juice to drip until the dripping stops, at least 2 hours. Discard the fruit pulp or save for another use.
Prepare the jars, lids and bands; heat up the canner; and sterilize the jars.
Measure 4 cups of the fruit juice and combine in a saucepan with the cardamom, lemon juice and the 5 tsp. calcium water.
In a separate bowl, combine the honey and pectin. Mix thoroughly and set aside.
Bring the plum juice to a full boil over high heat. Slowly add the pectin-honey mixture, stirring constantly. Continue to stir vigorously for 1 to 2 minutes to dissolve the pectin while the jelly returns to a boil. Once the jelly returns to a full boil, remove the pan from the heat.
To can the jelly, remove the jars from the canner and ladle the jelly into the hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch of headspace. Remove any trapped air bubbles, wipe the rims with a damp cloth, put on the lids and screw bands and tighten to fingertip tight. Lower the filled jars into the canner, ensuring the jars are not touching each other and are covered with at least 1 to 2 inches of water. Place the lid on the canner, return to a rolling boil and process for 10 minutes. (Add 1 extra minute of processing time for every 1,000 feet above sea level.) Turn off the heat and allow the canner to sit untouched for 5 minutes, then remove the jars and allow to cool undisturbed for 12 to 24 hours. Confirm that the jars have sealed, then store properly. Makes 4 to 5 half-pint (8-oz.) jars.