Plum season is at an end and once again I was looking for ways to keep plums ready for our porridge through the coming months. The last couple of years we froze them, but our freezer doesn't really have room for storing months worth of breakfast plums. This year I decided to try bottling them.
We purchased 4.4kg of plums at the end of the season.
I initially searched online for no-sugar bottling options, as the amount of sugar our jamming experiments had required somewhat alarmed me. I found plenty of options, including one with no sugar, but it seemed too good to be true and I didn't have a second chance, so I compromised with a light sugar syrup loosely based on the second recipe here. I dissolved two cups of sugar with 1.5L of water. Measuring sugar in cups rather than kilos (as for jam) was a good feeling.
Plums were scrubbed and quartered, then squashed fairly firmly into jars. Warm sugar syrup was poured in to fill the jars (tapping to remove air bubbles) then they were closed and set into cold water on the stove.
These were then heated to boiling, and left to simmer for 20-30 minutes. I was unsure whether the water should cover the jar lids or not, but the size of our pots only allowed it to cover two jars and these did not work as well, so next time I think no covering the jar lids.
Pot lids were balanced on as best I could, as this reduces significantly the amount of heat required to keep a pot simmering.
The finished product - 8 jars of plums - is delicious. Sweet but still tart. Lightly cooked but still fresh tasting.
Initial Time: About two hours.
Initial Cost: About $17 for plums. Either we missed the week they were in bulk and super cheap, or it never happened at our market this year.
Ongoing time or cost commitment: Zero
Impact: Again we are challenging the mass-production excess-packaging meet-every-whim-regardless-of-season food culture we live within. Its a little drop in a big ocean, but a good drop none the less.