As the weather cools and each day comes bearing less light, I find that my almost-compulsive urge to make jam is starting to go quiet (I’m not worried. It will return with the strawberries in May). The kitchen still pulls me, but once standing at the stove, I make vast pots of soup, warm grain salads, long simmered beans, and oven-roasted compotes of apples and raisins.
I find this time of year to be the very most satiating, both when it comes to food and to general living. My body loves the cooler weather and the bounty of winter squash and cruciferous vegetables, and my mind so appreciates the earlier bedtimes and the reintroduction of pleasure reading that happens when I’m not trying to work through all the waking hours.
I plan on sharing more of these homey soups, salads, and roasted fruit compotes with you in the coming weeks. However, I do have a preserve that is itching to be written up before it is forgotten forever. It’s a honey sweetened jam made from plums and pears that bridges the season in a very appealing way. I realize that in most places, plums are but a distant memory. If that’s the case for you, bookmark or pin it for next year, as it is worth making.
This one started as so much of my preserving does, with an assessment of what produce was most urgently on the verge. On the particular afternoon I made this jam, the answer to that question was a quart of plums from my Philly Foodworks CSA share and the last two very ripe pears that remained from a six pound bag we’d bought at Costco ten days earlier.
I chopped the fruit, cutting away any unseemly bits (the pears teetering on their very last leg) and plunked it all into the pot. I added 2/3 a cup of honey (the ratio of fruit to sweetener was about four to one), the juice of half a lemon, and a heaping half teaspoon of ground cinnamon and cooked it for about 20 minutes, until it was thick.
The finished yield was just four half pints. There was a bit leftover in the pan that I swirled into yogurt while it was still warm (so good). I do so love the satisfaction of transforming things that would otherwise get tossed into good, usable food.
Disclosure: The Cox Honey that’s pictured above was part of the shipment of honey that I detailed in this post. The plums were part of my October share from Philly Foodworks.
Honey Sweetened Plum Pear Jam
- 1 quart plums about 1 3/4 pounds
- 2 large pears about 1 pound
- 2/3 cup/8 ounces honey
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Prepare a boiling water bath canner and four half pint jars.
- Pit and chop the plums. Core and chop the pears. Make sure to cut away any soft spots.
- Place the chopped fruit into a low, wide pan and measure honey into the fruit. The easiest way to do that is to pop the pan onto a digital scale, press the zero/tare button, and then measure out 8 ounces of honey.
- Give the fruit a good stir to help combine the honey and add the lemon juice and cinnamon.
- Set the pot on the stove over high heat and bring the fruit to a boil.
- Cook, stirring regularly, until the jam thickens. Reduce the heat a bit if it becomes splashy.
- When you like the consistency of the jam, remove the pot from the heat.
- Funnel the finished jam into the prepared jars. Wipe the rims, apply the lids and rings, and process in a boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes.
Looks yummy, Marisa. I love how you just take what you have and make something wonderful out of it 🙂
There is no feeling like creating something yummy from what most people would consider nothing.
I have a quick canning question for you. I made a small batch of concord grape jam in 9-ounce hex jars. I read your post about canning in hex jars, but it was my first time. Everything set up & looked like it sealed properly, but then I noticed about a day later that the lids had loosened a bit. I could turn them to tighten, but also to easily unscrew the lid. I did some research & discovered this may be because I left too much headspace in the jars. Since the jam set, I need to know if it can even be re-canned? Do I just scoop the jam out of the current jars into new sterilized jars & reprocess, or do I need to cook it again first? Since it already set, would it be OK to add some water or concord grape juice so that I don’t end up with hard rubbery jam after reprocessing? Or am I really just stuck with 5 jars that have to go straight to my fridge? Any input would be so appreciated, thank you!
It sounds to me like you didn’t tighten the lids quite enough. Leaving too much headspace doesn’t typically cause the seal to go bad.
If you want the jelly to retain its set, the best thing to do is to put the jars in the fridge and give them to friends. If you’re okay with a chance of creating syrup, you can recan them. Adding water is a sure-fire way of ruining the set, unfortunately.
Thank you so much! That’s very good to know about headspace … I found it was a bit harder to measure in those hex jars. I appreciate your response 🙂
I noticed that you left the skin on both the pears and plums. I’m guessing the plums skin softened and disappeared into the jam, but was the pear skin noticeable in the finished jam? Wish I could find some good plums to try this recipe out!
Pear skin breaks down nicely once cooked. The only fruit I peel for canning are apples and peaches.
I have both of your books and they are delightful! I am new to canning and love the small batches and unique flavors. This recipe is yummy too!
Does this recipe scale? I have rather a lot of plums and bought too many pears to go with them!
You could double it without a problem, though the cooking time will increase a bit.
Thanks. First time making jam, and I’m a little nervous.
I’ve been looking at this recipe and your plum cardamom jam recipe, and am wondering if I can combine the two by using honey instead of sugar, as you have done here. I don’t have any pears, and am looking to cut back on the sugar (I am enjoying your natural sweeteners book very much!), but am wondering if the cardamom would get lost in the honey if I went that route? What would you recommend? If it would work, what ratio of plums to honey would you recommend? I have about 5 lbs plums.
Hello. Have you ever tried this with ginger instead of cinnamon? Just curious, I saw you have a peach, plum and ginger butter. Are these recipes slightly interchangeable, like can you sub pear for peach? Also if my honey has started to slightly crystallize will it still evenly incorporate into the jam bc of the heat? Don’t want any crunch bits. Thanks so much for your time!
I’ve not tried it with ginger instead of cinnamon, though I imagine that would be good. You can make small changes like the one you suggested, though I wouldn’t use white peaches, as they have a different acidity. Typically crystallized honey will break down as you heat it in combination with the fruit.
Hi, quick question, is the ratio of honey to plums essential in any way? I’m making plum jam tomorrow ( in Australia ) and we don’t prefer things too sweet, I was only going to sweeten to our taste. Will this affect the keeping properties at all?
If you reduce the honey, it won’t keep as well or as long. Sugar is a preservative.