I didn't even pick half of the plums that were on the tree but I ran out of time and ended up with two boxes. I didn't think it was very much until I started using them and the boxes NEVER seemed to look any emptier.
We ate lots of the plums fresh until I finally had to let the kids know what would happen to their bowels if they didn't stop. And then I was faced with what to do with them all. I didn't want to run to the store for supplies but I wanted to preserve them in a way I knew they would get used. I had no pectin or sure jell. All I had was a bunch of canning jars and lids, lots of sugar and two never ending boxes of plums.
So I came up with this simple recipe for Plum Butter that required nothing but plums and sugar....no water....no pectin....no peeling the plums. My kind of lazy recipe.
So here's how I did it.
First I threw a bunch of canning jars into the dishwasher to sterilize them and get them hot.
While those were washing I started the process of preparing the plums. I washed and sliced out the pits and threw the fruit in my giant pot, skin and all.
Then I boiled it all down until it was just a pulp. The skins dissolved and it became all juicy with just a bit of soft fruit chunks. All that juice and remember...I added no water.
Next I added sugar to taste. Plums are pretty tart so the ratio of sugar that I liked was for every pound of plums I used one cup of sugar. That still left them slightly tart.
Then I boiled and stirred...boiled and stirred until it began to thicken and condense. I could feel the tug on my spoon and even though it was still much runnier than you would picture a butter to turn out, I knew that as it cooled it would gel up even more.
I got out my hot canning jars from the finished dishwasher cycle and poured in the plum butter leaving about 1/4 to 1/2 inch at the top.
I wiped the rims clean and put the lids on REALLY tight.
Here's where I cheat and do the canning like my grandma did. Most people would process the jars in a water bath but if there's an easier way than that's how I do it. Cause I'm lazy like that. Just turn your very hot, tightly sealed jars upside down on your counter top. Let them cool completely that way and when they are cooled, turn them over and check the seal.
The top of the lid should be completely sucked in. If you push on the center dot of the lid and it gives, than your jars have not sealed properly. I've never had that happen but if it did than those jars would go into the freezer and get used first.
I preferred the consistency of the plum butter much more than the results I get from using a jell or pectin to make jam or jelly. I opened one jar after it cooled and of course had to test it out. It was naturally firm, almost creamy and easily spreadable. So now we have thick tart plum butter for our toast and biscuits all winter. Yum!
*****The USDA does not recommend this canning method. And while I've never had problems doing it this way please use caution and proceed at your own risk. (Oooh, that sounds ominous doesn't it.)