I know I keep saying it and I know you still don't believe me, but it really is very easy to make your own jam! The jam that I made developing this recipe makes a small batch that you prepare and then store in a clean jar in your refrigerator. I created this recipe using fruit that I had on hand in my refrigerator that is a bit past its prime. I used grapes and plums, but you could also use fruit such as berries, peaches, apricots, and even the juice from a pomegranate or citrus. Fruit can be wrinkly and a little soft, cutting away any bruised spots, and do not use fruit that has mold on it.
For this recipe, I had a bunch of very fragrant and flavorful Niagara grapes that had been sitting several days too long in the fridge. They were very sweet and flavorful, but I admit that I was lazy about eating them because they take a bit of work to eat. That sounds really lame, but the thing is these grapes have thick, tart skins and three or four seeds inside each tiny globe, so after popping one in your mouth, you have to work the sweet pulp from the skin and the seeds, and then you spit out the skin and seeds and swallow the pulp. Like I said, a lot of work for a little bit of grape. The skin and seeds of these little grapes are edible, but the skin is tough and I don't particularly like biting the seeds. I also had three plums that were a little wrinkly and mushy in spots. So I decided a grape plum jam would be a great way to use these two fruits.
Grape Plum Jam
Use flavorful grapes such as Niagara or Concord grapes and black or red plums for the best jam color.
1 small bunch of Niagara or Concord grapes (about 1/2 lb.)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
Wash the grapes and remove from stems. Put the grapes in a medium sauce pan and add a cup of water. Bring grapes to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer, stirring frequently and breaking the grapes up with a spoon as they soften. Simmer for 10 minutes or so, adding additional water if necessary so the grape mixture has the consistency of pureed soup.
Strain the grape mixture through a fine sieve over a bowl. Press the grape mixture with the back of a spoon to extract as much grape juice and pulp as possible. Discard skins and seeds and return strained grape mixture to the saucepan on medium-low heat.
Coarsely chop the plums, skin and pits removed. Add sugar and additional water if necessary until the fruit mixture the consistency of a thin soup. Bring the fruit mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat so the jam cooks at a very gentle boil. Cook the jam for 15-20 minutes or until it is thickened to jam consistency. Remove jam from heat and ladle into a clean jar.
Store in the refrigerator for one month, in the freezer for longer storage.
This jam tastes delicious on warm crusty bread or even over ice cream.