Mair Plums

At last I have cracked the secret of perfect (modest as always) jam …

I’ve been making jam for years – only in small quantities – but on the whole it’s been a triumph of optimism over reality. The only difficult thing about the whole enterprise is the timing – too long and it turns into toffee, and not in a good way; not long enough and it runs right off your scone. The classic way of telling whether you’ve cooked it long enough is to keep a couple of wee plates in the fridge, spoon on a drop of your hot jam and see if it creases a little as it runs … well that way hasn’t worked for me, ever. I don’t recommend it. You just get anxious watching for the crease that never happens.

p1020686The reason my setting point worked today was that I made the jam (plum, Victoria, from Newburgh) at work, and there, of course, there’s a probe thermometer. I found a book that told me the jam had to reach 105 degrees C to be done – and sure enough. No guessing.  It’s perfectly set! Nice and wobbly on the spoon, soft and melting on the tongue, and it stays in place. I am a very happy jam-maker and am going forthwith to buy myself a temp probe for home use.

The other piece of (extremely simple) equipment that made the job easy today was my new jam funnel, purchased yesterday in Perth for £2.99. Instead of jam running down the sides of everything, it just went straight in the jar. Clean and easy.

Why am I surprised? My mother had a saying, ‘a bad workman always blames his tools’; and I’m coming to the conclusion that she wasn’t always right (stand by for thunderbolt). We could never afford any kind of equipment, it was always make-do-and-mend; so I’ve grown up always looking for the frugal way. Frugal is good. But so is my new jam funnel, and so will be my forthcoming temp probe.

Have also prepared a batch of damson gin, with damsons from the second Saturday of the Newburgh Plum Fair. Hoping for great things but will let you know in due course.


5 thoughts on “Mair Plums

    1. Hi Life,
      I do the recipe my friend Sheila used when, many years ago, she got a CPD experience in the Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh, and had to make 96 scones a day for three months solid!
      1 lb SR flour sifted with a level tsp baking powder and a pinch of salt. Rub in 2oz butter, add 2oz caster sugar. Beat an egg with half a pint of milk, add liquid to dry and mix to soft dough. Turn out onto floured board, knead lightly, roll out an inch thick. Cut into rounds, place on greased and floured baking tray, glaze with leftover beaten egg and milk if you have any, bake at 200 degrees C(fan oven)for 12-15 mins. Sorry if that’s too much info!

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