Adventures in jamming: fruit, pectin, music


My friends gave me these beautiful yellow plums on Sunday, and I’ve been jamming up a storm. Both of these are ginger plum jam, with some chopped crystallized ginger added to the plummy goodness.


The one on the right is my usual Sure-Jell pectin version. It requires an exact amount of sugar to set. It’s very sweet. The one on the left is my first experiment with Pomona’s pectin, which doesn’t require sugar to gel. The pectin is activated by calcium (included in the packet). I used less than half as much sugar in this second jam. It’s much more tart, and the plum and ginger flavors shine through. But why do these two look so different? I made the second jam with turbinado sugar, so it’s darker, and I don’t love how it looks. I went back to the drawing board (and picked more plums), and came up with this winner.

Sunshine in a jar

It’s not as crystal clear/jewel-like as the Sure-Jell jam, but it has much less sugar, 4 1/2 cups of sugar for 8 cups of prepared fruit, instead of 8 cups of sugar for 6 cups of fruit. This is a little sweeter than the last version, per my family’s request. I like that I could add sugar until it tasted right. Pretty color. Delicious flavor. Nice texture. And I’ve run out of jars, so I’m done jamming for the season. Whew!

Third time’s a charm

For reference for next year:

Ginger Plum Jam

8 cups prepared plums (pitted, not peeled, pulsed a bit in food processor)
4 1/2 C sugar
1/2 C lemon juice
1/4 C chopped crystallized ginger
8 tsp calcium water (from pectin package)
6 tsp Pomona’s pectin

Prepare and process per directions in pectin package.


More jam? A couple weeks ago, we picked raspberries and made jam with this recipe I found last year. No added pectin, and an exquisite color and set.

Now I have a LOT of jam. I found this recipe for making jam ice cream a while ago. I haven’t tried it yet; I need to get out of the kitchen! But this may come in handy later.

I just picked the very last of my blueberry crop for this year. (Ring added for size reference. The bowl is only about 4 inches, and the berries are not so big in real life.)


I don’t love blueberry jam, so I have gallons of berries stored in the freezer for (my signature) cobblers, pancakes, muffins, and compotes all year long. Eating them fresh off the blueberry bush is my favorite way to enjoy them. I’m going to savor these last few.

In a different kind of jamming, the Pie Birds (my friends Claudia and Becky and I) sang in church on Sunday. This is our version of the Wailin’ Jennys’ Bird Song. I’m the low harmony, and play one of the guitars. It is an absolute joy to sing with friends!

Snowy Woods Cowl

I’m madly knitting away, and about halfway done with two projects that are publishing soon. One is the re-worked Snowy Woods Cowl. Lorajean over at Knitted Wit is doing this custom color in her Aran weight yarn for me. Isn’t it gorgeous? And soft and bouncy to knit with, too. We’re planning a pattern launch sale and a KAL. Stay tuned!

How was your week?

13 responses to “Adventures in jamming: fruit, pectin, music

  1. The plums remind me of the tiny Mirabelle found only in France this time of year and ginger in the jam sounds perfect. I’ll bring the toast on the next bus trip, you bring the jam.

    I am finishing up the asymmetrical Stripe Study shawl using some glittery Berocco sock yarn I found at the Yarn Garden’s close out. Just finished my Manos Nicole jacket which is proving to be very wearable.

    next? Your Oh La La in a local hand dyed, Alexandra’s Black Butte, but to me it looks like the metal color of le tour effiel and a KAL of Joji’s Grandpa sweater finally using up some Lotus Winter Sun I bought last year in Bejiing.

    Was that more than you wanted to know? Thank goodness I have AC and an excuse to stay inside to knit.

    • A/C is such a blessing for summer knitting! I’ve been knitting fall items, and I couldn’t do it without the A/C.

      My Oh La Lace is in Knitted Wit’s Shine in Brown Sugar. I wanted something coppery looking, like La Tour itself.

      I’m enjoying the jam! Can’t make it on this next Traveling Ewe trip, but maybe the one after on Columbus Day. We shall see!


  2. Sounds like you have been happily busy! The raspberry jam looks so pretty!

  3. If you need to off load some excess jam, there’s a needy woman in Chicago!

    • But how can I get it to you? We travel carry-on only, you and I, and this won’t get past the TSA. I guess you’ll have to send me your new addy!


  4. I love that cowl, in those colors it reminds me of the snow queen 🙂 Now you’ve got me wanting to make jam..

  5. Cowl special color and KAL??? YAY!! Can’t wait. and I copied down your jam recipe. Yum. 🙂

  6. alittleweirdo

    Ginger plum jam sounds yummy! One of these days I’ll have to try making jam. Looking forward to making a Snowy Woods cowl! In the meantime, I have started a 2nd Aloha shawl for my cousin who lives in Hawaii 🙂

    • I love making jam! I have to be careful not to give it all away; one year I did that and it was a long three months until plum season rolled around again.

      Looking forward to the KAL with you! And enjoy your Aloha. Now that you know what to expect, it will fly by!


  7. The cowl is gorgeous and the colour is fabulous. I’ve been jamming myself – bramble in my case – just brambles and sugar!

    • Isn’t it amazing that all it really takes to make jam is fruit and sugar? My raspberry jam is like that. I think the only reason to use pectin is to enable oneself to make jam with much less sugar. Both are good!


  8. I love that colorway for the cowl. It is really perfect!