Our plum tree yielded so many plums this year, despite near neglect and hardly any water. What a little trooper! I made a plum pie (yum) and was about to turn the rest into jam when my husband suggested make a quince paste alternative. Genius! PLUM PASTE!
Quince Paste (Membrillo) is a dense, sweet jam that is usually served alongside cheese. It turns cheese on crackers into even more of a delicious tasty morsel, if you can imagine that, and also has the added bonus of making your cheese platter look pretty fancy.
After researching a few different Quince Paste and Plum Paste recipes, I decided to use this one from Woolworths
- 2kg plums. I have no idea if I used 2kg of Plums but you can see how many are in the colander above.
- 1/2 cup water
- 4 cups sugar (approximately)
- 2 tbs lemon juice
Chopping the plums into quarters and separating the seeds was not as time consuming as I had thought it would be. In fact, very quick and easy. Although I was annoyed when I realised I had gone to the trouble of separating the seeds when I really didn’t have to, as it turns out that including the seeds helps add pectin and set the jelly.
So you add the plums, seeds and 1/2 cup of water into a saucepan and stir occasionally over low heat for 20mins until it is mushy.
You’ll know when it’s ready because the skins turn the mixture a beautiful shade of red, and your house starts to smell amazing.
Then comes the bothersome bit. You have to push the mixture through a sieve. I used the coarsest sieve I have and it still took forever. I set aside the solids and then pushed them all through the sieve one more time, because I’m like that.
When you have your strained puree, measure it and add an equal amount of sugar, I actually found I had 4 cups of puree and so I added 4 cups of sugar, just like the recipe said, which was quite amazing considering I never measured the amount of plums I had. Exciting times.
Dissolve sugar and puree over medium heat, then add the lemon juice. Turn the heat down slightly and simmer, stirring occasionally, for another 30mins or until thick.
Sorry I didn’t take any photos of this part, obviously I needed a break after all that sieving. Is that even a word? Sieving? SIEVING.
Then pour your mixture into hot, sterile jars. I used an odd assortment I had in the cupboard. Secure the lids and let them cool. That is really all you need to do for jam, but I wanted to make sure these lasted until the holiday season so I placed a glass lid in the bottom of a saucepan so the jars didn’t touch the base. Then I covered the jars in an inch of water and boiled them for 5 minutes. I have know idea if this was effective or not, but hey, that’s what I did. It looked like it worked.
Then it was logo and packaging time, yay! I just did a calligraphy course with Maybelle Imasa-Stukuls through Oh Happy Day craft nights (which was really wonderful and super fun) so I spent a little time trying out some ideas. Actually drawing with an actual pen on actual paper is something I haven’t done for a while.
Once I was happy with my calligraphy I printed out some little labels and stuck them on the jars with glue. You are welcome to download these labels to use and make your own plum paste, just click here for the plum paste free printable
Because I’m a total trickster I used some washi tape around the lids of my recycled jars so that no one would ever know they were originally Bonne Maman jars my husband got from a hotel breakfast buffet and then gifted to me, pretending that he’d bought me a present whilst he was away. Sneaky, huh?
Here you can see I’m testing my Weck jars to see that they are sealed. If you take off the clamps and lift the jar by the lid only, it should stick. The orange tab should also be pointing down. Check and check on both points, my Weck jars are sealed!
This plum paste turned out to be seriously delicious. I was planning on using these for gifts at the holidays but now I’m not sure I will be able to refrain from eating them before then. Apologies to friends and neighbors, if you don’t get one of these, the intention was there!