We recently moved house and are very lucky to have inherited quite a few cooking apple trees and damsom plum trees. Trouble is (a) I am a rubbish cook, having never made jam before, and (b) I'm working a lot and have no free time in eves at mo...and DC#3 due to arrive in next 8 wks.
Anyone know if it's ok to freeze the plums as they are (with stones in)? And what's the best way to store apples? Also any easy damsom plum jam recipes (for a jam novice)?
I've offered up a lot of the fruit on freecycle as otherwise it will go to waste, but somehow hope to use some of it ourselves for puddings etc!
Yes, do freeze the plums. I haven't tried it (no freezer) but my Mum (wonder-cook) always does and she says it makes it easier to make the jam cos the stones come out better once defrosted.
Damson jam - dead easy, stone your damsons (say 3lb max as easier to control smaller amounts), put in big pan, add equal weight of sugar, leave overnight. Next day cook gently stirring til all sugar dissolved, bring up to boil & boil hard til set, probably about 15 mins.
Test by pulling the pan off the flame, and putting a spoonful (minus froth) on to a very cold plate. Wait a minute (timed by the clock) then hold it up to the light and push gently with your finger. If it has a skin then it is set, otherwise boil hard another 5 mins. Skim off the froth then put into clean jars rinsed out with boiling water & put lids on straight away.
If anything plum/damson jam tends to overset, so stop early if you're not sure - if jam comes out really too runny you can always tip back in the pan & reboil or use it as ice-cream / pudding sauce, but if it is too set its nasty IMO.
Apples - pick through, only try to store perfect ones, others will freeze as applesauce. Store somewhere dark & cool in a cardboard box with newspaper between the layers & check regularly.