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This is an amazing recipe that's largely been forgotten and is very easy to make, but you won't find in a book. In the old days we used to cook a lot with lavender, but for some reason no one thinks of it as a herb any more. This is a real shame as it is an excellent flavouring if used in moderation. So if you fancy something truly different and very, very old school, then try out this recipe - you will not be disappointed!
I have a lot of plums every year so this is in large quantities, simply divide to get the amount you want. Basically it's equal quantities of plums and sugar, but the quantities below will make about 12 medium size pots of jam.
5lbs of Plums
5lbs of Ordinary Sugar
1 x Shot glass or jigger (1.5fl oz or 44ml) of lemon juice
1/3 of a small egg cup of dried lavender flowers (you can use fresh if needed)
1 x pint glass of water (exact amount is not critical, you can use more or less)
There's nothing special here, so you should already have everything.
12 x jam jars with lids
1 x roll of baking paper (grease proof paper)
1 x large pan or jam making pan
A ladle or large spoon
An oven with a stove
A freezer or fridge
How to make the plum jam
This really couldn't be easier - so don't worry if you're not a cook!
1. The first thing you need to do is pick some plums and then wash them. Now the key thing to realise is that you need the plum stones in the mix you boil or the jam won't set. So the easiest thing to do is to just slice every plum along it's length and then bung it in the pot, don't bother to remove the stones (you can if you want, but make sure you bung them in the pot too).
2. Now you're done with the plums, put the water in the pot with the plums and put it on to boil for 30 mins - stir occasionally.
3. While your waiting bung some plates in the freezer, 2 or 3 will do. These plates are for testing when your jam is ready, so you need them very cold.
4. After your pot has boiled for 30 mins add the lemon juice and then stir in the sugar, bit by bit. Once it has dissolved, put in the lavender flowers (strip them from the stalk). Be careful with how much lavender you add as it is very powerful, stop and taste the mix before deciding to add more if you are unsure.
5. Now is the time to sterilise your jam jars - the easiest way to do this is wash them and then when still wet put them in the oven at a low heat (Gas mark 2 or 3) for 15 mins.
6. Back to the jam. OK leave your pot to boil for another 20 mins, stirring frequently to stop the jam sticking, then remove a plate from the freezer - you're going to test for set. Take a small amount of jam from the pot and put it on the cold plate. Leave it to stand for 5 mins (or put it back in the freezer for a minute) before running your finger through it. If it wrinkles on the surface in front of your finger (i.e. it behaves like jam) then it's ready and you need to turn off the pot. If it doesn't wrinkle boil it some more and test again in 10 mins.
7. Now your jam is ready, just fish out all the plum stones from the pot with a spoon - you're ready for bottling. Ladle the jam while still hot into your d jam jars filling each on to the top so there is only a little air space when the lid goes on. Now cut some round jam caps from some baking paper (grease proof paper) and place each one on the surface of the jam in the jam jar. Finally put the jam jar lid on and you're done - but do all this while the jam is still hot so everything stays serialized.
8. That's it you're done - put the pots to one side to cool and then wash the outsides thoroughly to clean off any spilt jam (this is important to keep them fresh). Label them up and eat them or give them away over the next 12 months - that's what we do!
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