Spiced Golden Plum Jam

The Richmond Sharing Farm had some golden plums for the food preservation workshop. The plums were donated by people who has plum trees in their backyard. For those of you who like to donate your fruits to the sharing farm, give them a call and volunteers from the farm will be arranged to pick the fruits. You do not have to pick them yourself.  The Richmond Sharing Farm contacts can be found here: http://www.richmondfruittree.com/contact_us.html.

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Initially, Karen wanted to make pickled plums. However, when she saw the ripeness of the plum which is not suitable for pickled plums which require firmer plum, Karen switched to make Spiced Golden Plum Jam. Hence, the photo of the ingredients is not so accurate.

Ingredients

  • 1 cinnamon stick, about 10 cm or 4 inches, broken into pieces
  • 4 to 6 cardamon pods
  • 1.6 kg yellow plums, halved and pitted (about 3 1/2 lbs)
  • 125ml (1/2 cup) unsweetened apple juice, optional if the golden plum is very juicy
  • 1.65 litre (6 2/3 cups) granulated sugar
  • 1 pouch (85 ml/3 oz) liquid pectin

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Maria brought up a concern on the liquid pectin which has sodium benzoate which when combine with vitamin C (ascorbic acid) which naturally exists in fruits, will form benzene, a known carcinogen. However, Karen said the amount that is consumed via such preserved food is considered below the dangerous level. If you are concern, try to use those powder form or make your own pectin which I will cover next.

Source: this recipe is from Bernardin Complete Book of Home Preserving via Karen DW

Prep time: 30 minutes + preparation of jars and lids;  Yield about 7, 250ml (8oz) jars

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Orange Plum Jam

In the plum canning workshop, we also made an Orange Plum Jam.  The color of this jam will wary from golden to jewel purple, depending upon the colour of the plums.  In our case, it’s golden yellow as we are using the Golden Plums.

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This Orange Plum Jam is delicious as a spread on toast, or as a topping for angel food cake or cheesecake.  You can substitute the orange flavoured liqueur with almond flavour liqueur, or with flavoured syrups.  If you choose to omit the syrups, the final yield will be slightly less.

Ingredients

  • 5 cups plums, pitted and finely chopped (about 2-3 lbs or 1-1.25 kg)
  • 2 tablespoons orange zest, grated (about 1 large, or 2 small oranges)
  • 1 package powdered fruit pectin (1.75oz or 49-57g)
  • 5 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup orange flavoured liqueur (optional)

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Plums in Syrup

Richmond Food Secure organised 3 sessions of canning and preserving the bounty of summer harvest for the enjoying in the winter.  The workshops will be conducted in the South Arm Community Center.  Chef Karen Dar Woon will instruct participants on easy methods of canning, using excess fruit and veggies that are coming out of the garden.  Each workshop costs $5.  I got to know of these workshops through Arzeena, the outreach coordinator of Richmond Fruit Tree Sharing Project.

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The theme for the first workshop was Golden Plum.  It is also known as Yellowgage or Golden Drop.  The Golden Plum is a small plum, with diameter around 3 to 4 cm.  The skin is sourish while the flesh is sweet.

Karen shared with us the following home canning knowledge:

What is Canning:

Home canning, also known as putting up, is the process of preserving foods (in particular, fruits, vegetables, and meats) by packing them into glass jars and then heating the jars. Heating kills microorganisms and inactivates the enzymes which can cause deterioration.  The heat process also drives the air out of the jars, creating a hermetic (airtight) seal; this prevents reentry of contaminants.

Prior to the mid 20th Century, canning was one of the most common methods of preserving food for later use.  Freezers were not developed for consumer use until mid 1940s, when the Birdseye company began distributing frozen foods by rail.

A little science:

The microorganisms which cause spoilage include molds and yeasts, bacteria (salmonella, staph and botulism) and enzymes.  These microorganisms are already in or on the foods in nature, but can be killed.  Most molds and yeasts are destroyed at temperatures between 140-190F (60-88C).  Bacteria thrive at those same temperatures, but are unable to live in high acid environments. Fruit jams and pickles are considered high acid foods (pH of 4.6 or lower), and so are considered lower risk for home canning.

The use of a pressure canner, producing temperatures of up to 240F (115C), is used for processing low acid and acid nuetral foods such as meats and vegetables.

Heating jars in the water bath processor causes expansion of the food, and pressure within the jar.  Air escapes from under the lid throughout the processing time.  When the produce cools, a  vacuum forms and the lid conracts, creating a hermetic (airtight) seal and preventing re contamination.

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Equipment:

Boiling water bath: Any large, heavy pot can be used, as long as it is at least 3″ taller than your jars.  A rack keeps the glass away from the direct heat of the pot, and can be helpful for removing the jars later, but isn’t critical.

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A folded tea towel can be used instead.

Jar lifters: specially shaped tongs which fit around the top of the jar.

Pressure canner: specially equipped pot which features a pressure-regulating device and a locking lid.  Opten available at smaller hardware stores and some specialty cookware shops.  These differ from pressure cookers in both shap and manufacture (more precise regulator).  A pressure canner MUST be used for ‘plain’ vegetables, meat, poultry or fish.

Jars: Canning jars are designed to withstand the temperatures and pressures involved in home canning.  Jars and rings may be reused, but ALWAYS USE NEW SEALS.  The two-part sealer uses a soft compound in the lid which softens with heat and provides a cushion between the glass and the metal lid.

For more info, check out http://www.homecanning.ca (Bernardin website, and the The Art and Science of Home Food Preservation @ 2006 Jarden Corporation.

Ingredients

  • 3-5 pounds plums
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups water

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