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Friday, January 20, 2012

Greengage Jam with Ginger

It hasn't all been cherries around here.
The stone fruit is ripening and really coming into it's own now.

I love Greengage Plums and could eat them until I was sick. Pretty much one has too anyway because they have such a short life-span. Once they are ripe they can be past it within 24-48hrs so you do have to be quick. That is also why they are rarely on market shelves as they don't travel very well so it is really handy to know people in your neighborhood with trees.

One of the important rules of jam making is to cook the fruit slowly on low heat thus releasing the pectin that will help the jam set and then rapidly on a higher heat after the sugar is added.
I still prefer the old fashioned way of boiling the jars and lids for 10 mins to sterilize and then placing them upside down in a warm oven. Once the jam is at set I then bottle it hot into the hot jars sealing immediately.

The pectin in the fruit is key to getting jam to set and plums have plenty. I test for set on a cold plate.
In this picture there is a very light coloured blob on the left that I tested after about 10 mins of rapid boil. You can see how thin the mixture is and that it doesn't hold a shape but spreads readily. The blob at the top was after another 10 mins of rapid boil. Once cooled this test patch though thicker than the first still runs fairly freely. If I push the jam with my finger the jam quickly flows back into the trail I've made.
The last test blob is noticeably darker and thicker and once cooled I can push the edge with my finger and see the surface kind of wrinkle like tight surface tension. Another way to test for set is by checking the temperature which will reach 104C or 220F. The Vacola bottling thermometer comes in handy again!

So the basic recipe I used.....
3kg of Greengage plums
1 1/2 cups of water
1/3 cup of lemon juice
3kg of sugar
1/2 cup chopped preserved ginger

Cook the fruit gently in the water until softened. 
Add the sugar, lemon juice, ginger and some of the rind from the lemons if you like.
Stir till thoroughly dissolved and increase the temperature to a gentle boil.
Keep checking for set and don't let your jam burn on the bottom, that is an awful mess to clean (not to mention it taints the whole batch)
Had I had Green Ginger Wine on hand I think I would have used that instead of water to poach the fruit. 
 I think whiskey would also go well with this jam. 

This makes a very respectable amount of jam which I like as there is plenty for the shelf and some for giving.


  1. Hey Tanya, I was thinking about you today and wondering what you had been up I know..

    Your shelves will be filling up with all your lovely produce.
    We grow the darker plums in your photo. Guess I will be making some plum jam soon too.
    Hope Craig is going well with the shearing.
    Enjoy the weekend,

    Claire X

  2. Oh yum, I really love greengages! Never tried the jam though because we all manage to eat them very quickly!!
    I'll have to hunt around for someone with a prolific tree. Thanks for the recipe.

  3. Greengages are delicious - like honeydew melons. We've had a serious attack from cockies but still have some to eat and make jam. I picked a few under ripe to save them. This sounds delicious. Could be a weekend project.

  4. Your jam looks delicious...I wont be able to have any beloved plums this year because the tree that usually keeps me supplied had a poor harvest this year :(

    I do however have nectarines coming out my ears...

  5. Oh my goodness, you have me drooling on my computer's keyboard!

    I've never heard of Greengage plums. I wonder if they are available here.

  6. I've never heard of these, either. I'm putting in a little orchard this spring, and I just might have to include one or two of these. What scares me is the short amount of time between 'ripe' and 'rotten.' Does the whole tree come ripe at once, or is the harvest stretched over a few weeks?

  7. I bet this is delicious! We've a couple of greengage trees but they're old and don't have enough fruit to make jam.

  8. Oh yum, that looks, and sounds delish! I love greengages and the few times I have had them have been from kind friends sharing them.

  9. yum yum yum yum yum yum YUUuuummmmm : o )

    Thanks for the tips... I am ALWAYS learning something from you : o )

  10. yum, ive never made any jam or preserves before but i have half an allotment this year so i should get on it!

  11. Oh, I want Green Gages, I loves them! and I got a preserving unit for xmas and a bunch of jars out of my mother in law's shed.. I am so ready to start doing some fruit. Childhood Favourites where Kentish Cherries and Green Gages. We used to do them whole and recite the alphabet over the stones after eating a bowl to see what letter our love's name would start with! (and get a different letter every time!)

  12. I haven't had greengage plums for over 20yrs you are lucky to have a tree and the jam looks nice.

  13. I just made some green gage jam last night - one small batch with vanilla and cardamom, another slightly bigger batch with shaved fresh ginger. Very hard to find here, near Washington DC!


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