basics | preserving

Preserving the Seasons: A Basic Plum Jam Recipe

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Basic Plum Jam Recipe

The thing about being an urban homesteader is that you probably don’t have room to grow a lot of your own food.

That’s certainly the case for us, living in a small townhouse with a small, south-facing courtyard.

But even though we may not be growing and picking our own abundant harvest, that doesn’t mean we can’t preserve it.

Plums are in season at the moment, and they are very inexpensive, either at the greengrocer (where I picked up a 1 kg bag for $2.50) or at the local farmer’s market.

If you’re lucky, you might know someone with a plum tree. Or you could use this new site to find people selling, sharing, bartering or giving away their homegrown produce.

Today’s recipes is a basic plum jam. You could add spices by placing them in a square of muslin and boiling them with the jam. I plan to make a plum, rhubarb and vanilla jam later in the week (note: I made this, it was absolutely delicious!), using pretty much the same recipe as below, just stirring in the vanilla (extract – the bean is a bit beyond our current budget) at the last minute.

I’ve seen recipes that have equal weights of plums and sugar, but that’s way too sweet for my tastes. So I’ve halved the sugar amount (I use raw sugar, by the way, and the jam turns out fine). You can always taste the jam as it’s cooking and if it’s too tart, add in more sugar.

Yield: approx. 1.5 kgs

Basic Plum Jam Recipe

Basic Plum Jam Recipe

Preserve the Autumn harvest to enjoy all year round by making it into jam.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Additional Time 1 hour
Total Time 2 hours 10 minutes


  • 1 kg plums, stoned and quartered (weight after stoned)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 500g sugar (more or less to taste)
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice


  1. Simmer the plums and water in a large pot for about 20 – 30 minutes or until they are soft and starting to break down.
  2. Add the sugar and lemon and stir until dissolved. Bring to the boil and then simmer until set, skimming off any scum.
  3. Ladle jam into hot, sterilised jars, leaving a little bit of headroom, and seal well while hot.
  4. Process jam in a water bath (you can find instructions here)


*Cook times are approximate.

*Food safety standards recommend all home preserves be processed properly. High acidic foods like jam can be processed in a water bath. You can find instructions on how to do that here. For processing times and more information, check out the USDA website.

Basic Plum Jam Recipe


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  1. Hi Melissa, thanks to you for the inspiration. I shopped this morning at the local f and veg market. Got plums for 1.50 kg and strawberries for 1.00 a punnet. I have a batch of each jam on the go as I write. I have saved some plums to make some asian plum sauce tomorrow. I also got apples to make some dry apple pieces for healthy snacks.

    I guess we put off making these thinking you have to mountains of them but unless you are feeding shearers or simlar you only need to make small amounts. Now if the would just have a special on raspberries and blueberries lol.

    Thanks again Kate.


  2. Hi Melissa

    Thanks for the recipe I’ve only been making jam a couple of years and my first time making plum jam I took it to my local show on the weekend and came home with 1st place with 3 others in the same class.

    Thanks again

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