Plum Jam + A Day with Friends

August 31, 2011

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We had a really great, low key summer.  We spent hours in the swimming pool, rode our bikes along the Santa Monica bike path, played tag games with the neighborhood kids, and stayed up way too late. Hanging with friends this summer was an everyday occurence.  The originally scheduled 3 hour playdate generally turned into an overnight, extending itself deep into the following afternoon.

Isaac spends a lot of time with one of his really good friends whose family has a vast property, nestled in between two canyons in the heart of B.H.  Driving up their winding driveway instantly makes you feel as though you are far, far away from anything remotely urban and instantly casts you into “relax” mode. As soon as the car is unpacked and I’ve perched myself under one of their many trees, I feel as though I am sitting outside one of the perfect little bungalows at San Ysidro Ranch. But then I hear the faint cries of 7 children and the dogs and then I am reminded that I am merely miles from the hustle and bustle of Wilshire Boulevard.

This property is like no other. It is truly spectacular and my fantasies run wild when ever I take the time to roam the grounds. Beyond the main house are the care takers quarters, horses stables, chicken coop, goats, herb and vegetable garden and man made hiking trails.  Lining these trails are the most gorgeous and lush fruit trees. One day at the beginnig of summer, late in the afternoon we took a leisurly hike.  The plum trees were full and the plums, perfectly ripe. The kids competed on who would get the most.  I cannot remember who won the contest that day, but what I can tell you is that I left that day with a huge bag of perfeclty, delicious plums.

As day turned into night and as we drove down their winding driveway, I waved, blew kisses, and shouted my “thank yous”.  But shouting thank you just didnt seem good enough. What better way to really show our gratitude then by bestowing upon them a homemade treat. So, as I drove through Coldwater Canyon, on my way home, I contemplated on what to do with the plums.  Jam kept swirling around in my head.  With an overabundant amount of fruit, jam is the perfect way to utilize several pounds of freshly picked fruit.

Plum Jam
yield: 2 cups

ingredients:
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
2 tsp. pectin
1 pound ripe plums (about 3 medium), halved, pitted, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices

instructions:
• score an “x” in each plum and submerge plums in boiling water for 30-45 seconds.  when the skins start to peel back, remove them from the boiling water and place under cool water.  peel and seed all of the plums and then give them a rough chop.  set aside.
• stir sugar and water in heavy medium saucepan over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves(similar to making a simple syrup).
• scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean and add the seeds and the pod to the sugar water.
• bring to a boil and cook until a candy thermometer reads 260*F. don’t walk away from the mixture, swirl the pan from time to time. whisk in the pectin.
• off the heat, add the cut up plums to the and coat evenly with the sugar water. turn the heat up to high and cook plums until they have started to break up.  cook for about 20-30 minutes or until the jam has thickened.
• transfer hot mixture to a glass container, cover with plastic wrap, and refigerate until cool. place in individual ball jars and store in the fridge.  Enjoy!

More Jam Links:
Tomato Jam – Savour Fare
Banana Jam – The Urban Baker
A Pound of Figs - Farm to Table Geek
Strawberry Lemon Verbena Jam - Couldn’t Be Parve
Onion Marmalade – The Urban Baker

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Allison [Girl's Guide to Social Media] August 31, 2011 at 5:08 pm

Your summer days sound amazing and out-of-this-world! The plum jam is making my mouth water. Would love it on some toast.

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2 Susan September 2, 2011 at 10:12 am

Only a few left, Allison – then it is down to business. You and I have lots to do!

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3 Marla {family fresh cooking} August 31, 2011 at 5:19 pm

Sounds like a beautiful place to spend a summers day. Love the plumy jam :)

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4 aida mollenkamp August 31, 2011 at 5:37 pm

Oooh, plum jam — so the essence of summer.

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5 jenjenk August 31, 2011 at 5:53 pm

oooh!! nice! So lovely!!!

Because of the rains earlier this year, we had very few plums! no plums for me…sad face…

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6 Susan September 2, 2011 at 10:13 am

Jenn- plums are my favorite, they always have been. Let’s hope for a ripe crop for you for next year!

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7 Esi August 31, 2011 at 5:57 pm

YUUUUM! I was just thinking about making fig jam again, but may have to change that to plum jam.

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8 teri August 31, 2011 at 5:57 pm

what a dream this property must be..i can only imagine what you describe in the middle of LA! i was instantly absorbed in this post – thank you for the dreaminess :)

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9 Chocolate Shavings August 31, 2011 at 6:48 pm

Jams like these are such a great way to hold on to a little piece of summer all year long!

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10 Kim September 1, 2011 at 4:39 am

Plum jam, with raspberries jam, is my favorite. I can’t get enough of it and I’m not a jam eater. Vanilla is a great addition. These plums really looks great!

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11 Georgia Pellegrini September 1, 2011 at 4:28 pm

Sounds like such a magical summer, one your kids will remember for years to come : )

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12 Amanda September 2, 2011 at 4:08 am

I want to go there. With you. What a lovely way to use those gorgeous plums!!!

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13 Mary September 2, 2011 at 7:28 am

I’m sure the jam was appreciated. It sounds wonderful. I enjoy my visits here. There is always something delicious going on. I hope you have a great day. Blessings…Mary

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14 Susan September 2, 2011 at 10:10 am

Hi Mary – so glad you could come by for a visit! Enjoy the last lit bit of summer and have a safe Labor Day weekend! Best. ss

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15 Sue/the view from great island September 3, 2011 at 2:15 pm

Vanilla bean and fresh plums…yum! I can remember my kids having play dates, sleepovers, and then, as they grew older, parties at beautiful ‘estates’ like this in LA. Sounds dreamy.

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16 Nancy@acommunaltable September 5, 2011 at 8:30 pm

I think jam was the perfect gift !! Those plums, BTW, are gorgeous and so is the jam! I miss those lazy days of summer with the boys – so glad that you enjoyed yours!!

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17 Kristen September 7, 2011 at 8:01 pm

We adore plums around here but I never once thought of having plum jam. Yum! Your friends are lucky!

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