I have a had a love affair with greengages and greengage jam ever since I was a child. Over the years these luscious green plums seem to have become rarer and rarer and often the only place to find greengage jam has been in a garden centre or farm shop. So imagine my delight when I came across 6 punnets of reduced Greengages (35p each from £1) in my local supermarket last week! They didn’t look very ripe which was great as I didn’t have time to jam them immediately and slightly under-ripe to just ripe fruit is always best for jam making due to higher pectin level. A reader recently questioned the lack of any pectin or lemon juice in my Plum and Apple Jam, I had to explain that some fruits just have enough natural pectin not to need any help on that front! If a jam does need extra pectin I only ever use lemons which are bursting with it!
So fast forward to jam making day which came a couple of days later. Stoning the greengages and then crushing the shells to remove the kernals is a bit of a labour of love but a lovely ritual all the same! The kernals help with the setting as there is no lemon juice in this recipe to help with the pectin level. I also had 3 yellow plums that needed using up so I tossed those in too which probably affected the colour slightly! Over the last 3 years I have gone from making quite stiff jam, well maybe that’s an exaggeration but you know what I mean to a much softer set jam which we prefer – the more jam you make the more you get a feel for this. So being a bit foolhardy I tested my jam at 8 and then 10 minutes and as it was “just” tacky I decided that would do (and maybe I was tapping away on my phone juggling my Facebook and Instagram at the same time)! So I popped my Greengage Jam into jars and the following morning when I went to try it I realised it was just a step too far on the runny side, it was perfectly edible but not up to my usual standard.
So the good thing with jam is that if you haven’t boiled it for long enough you can pop it back in the pan and carry on boiling it. This was my first experience of this happening but it’s through mistakes that we learn the most I find so I thought it was important to share this with you the reader. If you take your eye off the ball during any stage of jam making that is when things can go wrong, not stirring is also a big no no or you burn your jam. So I re-washed and sterilised all my jam jars and set about boiling my jam until it wasn’t just tacky but formed a crinkle on a chilled saucer, this took another 4 minutes.
So after a shaky start I ended up with 4 large (400 ml) jars of delicious Greengage Jam. I reduced the amount of sugar in this jam as most recipes call for equal amounts of fruit to sugar but this jam has plenty of sweetness so more sugar really isn’t necessary. Happy jam making and if you make this recipe do let me know or share with me on Twitter, I love seeing your creations!
Greengage Jam and what to do when your jam is too runny!
- 1.8 Kg greengages
- 1.5 Kg granulated sugar
- 275 mls water
- Place the water in a large preserving pan (or one of equal size).
- Wash the greengages (no need to dry), remove stalks, halve to remove the stones, cut in quarters and add to the pan.
- Use a nut cracker to crack open the stones to remove the kernals then add them to the pan.
- Cook the greengages for 10 minutes on a gentle simmer.
- Turn the heat down and add the sugar, stirring until all the sugar has dissolved.
- Bring the pan to a full rolling boil and stir frequently.
- Start testing for set after 12 minutes by placing a few drops of jam onto a chilled saucer. Place in fridge for a minute and then push your finger through it, if it is tacky and forms a crinkle the jam is ready, if not boil for another 2 minutes and repeat test until ready.
- Stir jam well and skim off all the kernels that float to the surface.
- Ladle jam into hot sterilised jars and place lids on immediately.
- Store in a cool, dry place away from sunlight.
Put 2 saucers in the freezer before you start.
Sterilise 4 x 400 ml jam jars by washing in hot soapy water or take straight from dishwasher, filling with boiling water, emptying and then placing in oven for 20 minutes at 140°C then leave in oven until jam is ready. Washed lids should be sterilised with boiling water and then left to drain.
For more plum and summer jam inspiration you might like the following recipes:
Mirabelle Plum Jam – Fab Food 4 All
Plum & Apple Jam – Fab Food 4 All
Damson Jam – Fab Food 4 All
Damson & Redcurrant Jam – BakingQueen74
Quick Yellow Plum Jam – Simply Food
Flaming Fury Peach & Niagara Ice Wine Jam – Kavey Eats
Apricot & Vanilla Jam – Tin & Thyme
Gooseberry & Gin Jam – Foodie Quine
Why not pin for later!