Sunshine Jam With Plums, Turmeric and Bee Pollen | Recipe by Preservation Society August 17 2017
This recipe for vibrant Sunshine Jam from Camilla Wynne of Hamilton's Preservation Society is healthy, beautiful and delicious. Featuring in-season yellow plums and immune boosting honey + bee pollen, now's the time to can sunshine to enjoy all winter long.
Because I own a preserving company I spend the entire year making jam, but for any normal person the time to be canning is right now. The market is overflowing with gorgeous fruit, and it feels so good to preserve a little to add some summer sun to your day once autumn and then winter have settled in. A lot of jam recipes use a lot of white sugar, unfortunately, and trendier healthy jam recipes, such as chia jam, aren’t safe to can at home. While I don’t mind a little sugar myself, some of my best friends have eliminated it from their diets completely, and it would all behoove us to at least cut down. Fortunately you can make an amazing jam that’s even more evocative of time and place by using local honey. But since we’re talking healthier jam, I thought we might as well go all the way, so I added some sunshine-y healing foods to make this a real feel good spread. Fresh turmeric, dried calendula petals and bee pollen all turn the colour up to 11 and add subtle, moreish flavour.
Jam sweetened with honey is delicious but sadly it doesn’t keep as long as a jam made with sugar. Bacteria and mold are just like us—they need water to live. Sugar molecules bond to water molecules so the interlopers can’t use them, but honey doesn’t act the same way—it’s a little more loosey goosey! For that reason I like to make smaller batches of honey jam and can it in 125mL jars. I use raw spring or summer honey, but you can use your favorite—just steer away from very strongly flavoured ones like buckwheat, which will overwhelm, well, everything. And I know a cup and a half might seem like a lot, but I did my first test with less, and man was it sour! This amount is just tart enough for my taste, but obviously yours might be different, just as your plums might be! Taste and adjust.
Because plums are a high acid food there’s no chance of botulism developing in your jam, so feel free to get a little creative! Other additions of substitutions that might rule include fresh ginger, the zest and juice of an organic orange, saffron, or chamomile flowers. Or you could make a midnight jam using purple plums flavoured with fresh lavender, borage and elderberry.
Getting the set right is the trickiest part of jam making. The best way to check is to keep a plate in the freezer then put a teaspoon of jam on it when you think it’s ready. Put it back in the freezer for two minutes, then push it with your finger. If it wrinkles like a silk shirt on the floor, it’s done! Just make sure to take the jam off the heat while you do this to avoid overcooking.
Makes about 3 ½ cups / 5 – 125mL jars
900g (net) / 1.5L small yellow plums
500g (1 ½ c.) honey
juice of 1 lemon
1 T. dried calendula petals
1 t. grated fresh turmeric (or sub ½ t. powdered)
1 t. bee pollen
Wash the plums then pit them and cut them into eighths. Mix them with the honey, lemon juice, calendula and turmeric and let the mixture macerate at least 15 minutes (or overnight in the fridge).
Transfer the mixture to a wide, heavy-bottomed pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Now add the pollen. Cook at a rolling boil, stirring often, until the mixture starts to thicken. You will start to feel resistance when you drag your spatula across the bottom of the pot, and when held aloft the jam should fall lazily off the spatula in globs (this is called sheeting). When it’s ready, remove the jam from the heat and ladle into jars to within a ¼” of the rim. Cool completely before storing in the fridge.
If you want to can this to be shelf stable, put your clean jars in the oven at 250F while the jam is macerating. After you fill them, put on the lids fingertip tight then boil them in a hot water canner for 5 minutes. The next day, check they are sealed then label and store them in a dark, dry, cool spot.
Preservation Society is a small batch preserving company. We lovingly produce fruit-forward jams, crystalline jellies, hand-cut marmalades, intoxicating chutneys, and addictive pickles. Ingredients are local whenever possible and sometimes even handpicked. People have been known to eat whole jars with a spoon, so watch out...
But this is not a secret society of carefully guarded recipes and techniques! Canning is a dying art that must be resurrected! The Preservation Socity offers monthly workshops and are also available for private lessons. Please see the events page for more info.