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The plums are ripe on our plum tree, and although there's not near as much as in the past, there's still more than we can eat fresh. So, I'm canning them, to have later in the year. On top of our applesauce. Sort of turns into plumsauce. Sort of. It's really good. Anyway, this is what I've figured out over the past few years. I started out with about 12 pounds of fruit, and ended up with 14 pints, and a few plums leftover. Oh, by the way, I think these are Santa Rosa plums. I'm pretty sure, but not positive. They're really tasty!
My plums cut in half real easy, so that's what I do first. (after I wash them) Cut them in 1/4's, cutting the pit out.
This might seem like lots of work, considering how small the plums are, but it really isn't bad. Pretty soon, you get this:
Oh, don't let that last picture fool you. I'm doing a cold pack, so I won't be cooking them. This pot was just the handiest thing I had in the kitchen at the time. Anyway, I want to show you a trick I learned from my friend Cindy. Instead of making a syrup, pour sugar directly into the jar. I'm using a light to medium syrup, so I put in 1/4 cup sugar, in the bottom of each jar. You could certainly put in less. Or more! Depending on how sweet or tart your plums are, and if you like to sweeten things up or not.
Pour a small amount of hot water into each jar. Stir to dissolve. *In this picture, I am pouring hot water from my tea pot. It doesn't have to be boiling water, although it certainly can be. The water can be hot tap water, which will dissolve the sugar just fine. Just FYI, it doesn't work if you skip putting the hot water in right now. It also doesn't work if you don't stir it around to dissolve the sugar. Even though you will be boiling everything later. I know, it seems like it would, but it doesn't. I know someone who has tried that. But that's all I'm saying!
Fill each jar with plums, leaving about 1/2" of space on the top. If there's a little too much liquid, just tip the jar over the sink to get some out. I filled some of my jars too much. Be sure to pack the plums in pretty tight, they tend to get smaller when they are in the canner.
Here they are, ready to be wiped clean,and their lids and rings put on.
Ahhh, the greatest thing since sliced bread! I usually can everything outside, on my big crab cooker thingy. It's attached to a 5 gallon propane tank, and let me tell you, that thing gets hot fast! Sounds like a freight train. I put the jars in, fill it with the garden hose, and then light it up. It's a beautiful thing!!
Let it come to a boil, and then turn it down. Plums need 20 minutes for pints, so I set my trusty timer, and came back out to turn it off. I usually let it set in the water for a few minutes, but you don't have to. Here they are out of the water, ready to be taken out.
Ta Da! Here they are, rinsed and rings off, ready for their labels. I tried to print them out before I took this picture, but the printer wasn't working right. So there you have it. Pretty simple, huh? Most of the times I can, all of the jars seal. For some reason, this first batch had 2 out of the 7 didn't. But the second batch all sealed. Now there are 12 waiting labels, and 2 in the frig. Hopefully I'll do a few more batches before the weekend gets here!