Going to a u-pick/ farm and picking plums for a delicious plum and citrus jam. A great family activity for kids and adults of all ages.
Growing up I have fond memories of getting into the family car with my sister and parents, heading down to the valley and picking apples. We’d come back with kilos of them, ready for cooking, squishing, peeling and eating. It was an annual signal that Autumn had arrived.
Naturally I was keen to find something similar in the UK for my family. Try as I might, I have yet to find a u-pick for apples within traveling time to Bedford. By chance, however, I did come across Peterley Manor Farm, which claimed to have plums.
Taking a chance, I loaded the family into our car and sped the hours drive. As any parent knows, an hours drive is risky. If you don’t end up somewhere with something vaguely interesting to do, you will pay for it in temper tantrums.
Yet, I put this possibility out of my mind and assumed that I would be triumphant. That at the end of the rural road would be the pinnacle of plum orchards. That I would get my LLBean catalog family photo and they boys would remember it for a lifetime.
Boy did I luck out.
We went plum crazy too.
Walking through the fields towards the trees, we had games of tag and Thing 1 insisted on looking for a walking stick (or potential plum tree hitting device). Plus we were in our element sneaking the few remaining blackberries we found on the bushes bordering the farm.
Sure enough, the plums we ready. Vivid purple jewels hanging off the trees. My boys went plum crazy, each insisting they wanted the most plums.
We went plum crazy too. Picking and picking. It was only as we sat in the farm garden have a rather delicious coffee near their yurt (screams middle class, I know), that it dawned on me that the price per kilo was rather high. Needless to say I spent a rather eye watering amount of money on plums.
Considering the investment my family had just made, I was determined to think of ideas as to how we would use this delicious fruit beyond snacking.
In the end, we had a delicious plum and almost cake from Delicious (link) which paired nicely with hot custard.
However myself and Thing 1 had a second plan. The Jam Plan. It was one of those little moments I’ll remember, even if he doesn’t. In the kitchen, use both cutting up plums and juicing some citrus. In the end we make a great batch of plum and citrus jam, which was just perfect on our scones and toast.
Ideal Parings: Well a good cup of tea, naturally.
Plum and Citrus Jam
- 5 Oranges Fresh, with a thin skin
- 1.5 kg Plums
- 2 Limes juice and zest
- 1 Cinnamon stick
- 1 kg granulated sugar
- Cut four of the oranges into thin slices, then chop the rounds into half. Add 200ml water to a pan, along with the orange slices. Bring to a boil, and then simmer/steep for about 20-30min. Top up the water if needed so you have 200ml of liquid at the end.
- With the help of little ones, halve and de-stone the plums. This might take a while, so have a big bowl ready. If you can, chop these into quarters, or have fun by getting your hands in the bowl and give them all a good squeeze!
- In a very large, non-reactive, pot (or a preserving pan), put the plum pulp, 3/4 of the lime juice (and all the zest), the steeped orange slices and their juice plus the juice of last orange. Start to cook on medium heat for 20min, or until the plums are soft. Then add the sugar and slowly stir. Bring to a boil, and boil until it reaches setting point (104c). Skim the jam as needed. Be careful with little ones with this step, as the sugary jam will be VERY hot.
- Once it reaches setting point, pour the jam into warm sterilised jars. Use a new seal, and shut. Let it cool, then load up some buttered toast with the delicious plum and citrus jam.