Mirabelle Jam (Yellow Cherry Plum Jam)
I have literally been meaning to post this mirabelle jam recipe since July, but then the summer holidays happened, which blew everything out of the water. Now in September mirabelles are totally out of season (in the UK), but if you're reading this in June or July, get foraging.
We found these little yellow plums, also known as cherry plums or mirabelles, growing wild on trees in Dorney (near Windsor). They are the size of cherry tomatoes and are soft yet firm when ripe and easily come off the stalk when picked. They have a stone inside which is easy to remove if you squish them a little.
Mirabelles make excellent jam and they are much quicker to harvest than blackberries being bigger! This mirabelle jam recipe is my favourite to date, it's tangy and the spices give warmth and flavour. Mirabelle jam has a lovely orangey-brown colour and is delicious on toast or scones.
Check out this easy blackberry jam video I made a while back which has lots tips if you've not made jam before. It's much easier than you think and you don't need any fancy equipment or ingredients.
Mirabelle Jam (yellow cherry plum)
- Time: Around 1 hour start to finish
- Calories: 43 per tablespoon*
- Makes: around 3 x 450g jars
- 1.3kg of mirabelles / yellow cherry plums washed & stalks removed (roughly 1kg without stones)
- 100ml water
- 750g granulated sugar
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp butter
If you want to keep your jam for a long time you'll need to sterilise some jars to store it. For this recipe, use 3 x 450g glass jars with lids or the equivalent. Wash them well in hot soapy water (or put them through your dishwasher) and then dry them in a pre-heated oven at 140 C / 120 fan / gas mark 6 for 10 minutes. Oven drying the jars will sterilise them so your jam won't go mouldy. Switch off the oven and leave them in there until you are ready use. You want the jars to still be warm when you pour the hot jam into them so they do not crack.
Put 2 or 3 sauces or small plates in the freezer ready for testing the jam later to see if it has set. Also get a heat proof mat (or a couple of tea towels) and oven gloves ready for handling the hot jars later on.
1. Stone the mirabelles by squeezing each one between your fingers until it splits. Discard stones.
2. Using kitchen scissors, snip up the plums in a bowl to chop them up roughly.
3. Put the mirabelles, water, lemon, sugar and spices in a large deep pan over a low heat. Stir to warm though and dissolve all the sugar - it's very important the sugar is completely dissolved before you move on.
4. Once the sugar has dissolved, increase the heat until the mixture is on a rolling boil (this means it's constantly bubbling). If you have a thermometer you will see that this is 104 C. Please be careful as it's very very hot! Keep boiling for 15 minutes without reducing the heat, as this will cause the jam to set. Give it the occasional stir to stop it catching on the bottom of the pan.
5. After 15 minutes you can test the jam to see if it has set. Put a teaspoon of your hot jam onto one of your cold saucers from the freezer. When it is cold run your finger through it. You will know if it's set as you will see a little channel on the plate where you have run your finger. It will be jam-like consistency. If it's too runny, boil for 5 minutes longer and repeat the 'plate test' until it has set.
6. When you are satisfied the jam has reached the setting point, turn off the heat and stir the butter into the jam. This will cause any white 'scum' on the surface to dissolve. (Some people spoon this off but I don't bother, I just use the butter trick and the jam is fine). Leave the jam to cool for about ten minutes before pouring it into the sterilised jars. Use oven gloves to hold the jars and pop the jars onto a heatproof surface or a couple of tea towels.
7. Fill the jars almost to the top - leave about 1cm gap. Screw on the lids tight straight away and as the hot jam cools it will suck the lid in and make a seal (like jars of jam you buy in the shops before they are opened). The jam will last in sealed jars for 2 years. Once opened eat within 8 weeks.