Because, since I discovered how conveniently jam can be coaxed to fit into a schedule not wholly devoted to making jam, I am unstoppable. And plums are irresistible, come fall.
For this jam I used two varieties common in England: sweet, plump Victorias and austere Damsons. The Damson’s astringency smoothed by the honeyed Victorias, together they dance in perfect plum harmony, with a zing.
Damson plums are a bit finicky to pit, until you realize that using a cherry pitter — which I do own but, until now, used only very rarely, since I don’t usually pit the cherries for my clafoutis — a cherry pitter works a charm. And as a bonus I was happy to discover a second use for that woefully underutilized kitchen gadget.
900 g Damson plums (to yield 700g once pitted)
800 g Victoria plums (to yield 700g once pitted)
1 kg sugar
Juice and rind from 1 lemon
1-inch piece of fresh ginger
Wash and pit the plums. Put them in a bowl with the sugar and lemon juice and leave to marinate for a few hours or overnight.
When ready to cook the jam, transfer to a heavy bottomed saucepan. Add a ribbon of lemon rind and the ginger, peeled and cut into coin-size pieces.
Bring the fruit to a boil and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes. After about 20 minutes, check regularly whether the jam begins to jell. A good way to do this is to scoop a spoonful of jam into a small bowl or ramekin, place it in the refrigerator so it cools quickly, and check whether it solidifies.
Meanwhile, sterilize the jars in boiling water for 5 minutes.
As soon as the jam is ready, remove it from the stove, take out the lemon rind and pieces of ginger, and transfer the hot jam into the jars. Seal tightly, and, as usual, store for a few weeks at least before opening.