Winter Spiced Plum & Cherry Preserves [no pectin]
While I didn’t get around to picking any fresh cherries this year [or making my famous boozy cocktail cherries], I knew I wanted to make a plum and cherry preserve with the fresh plums that are still around at the local markets in late fall and early winter. So I mixed fresh plums with frozen sweet cherries for these preserves. For holiday gifting, I decided to add the warmth of ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, and clove. And I’m so glad I did. These preserves taste wonderful on buttered toast, stirred into yogurt, and warmed and spooned generously onto waffles or sponge cakes. They’re not as runny as some preserves. Only, with the larger pieces of plum and whole cherry, they must still be considered a preserve rather than a jam! What a beautiful deep plum colour they turn in the making! Enjoy!
Winter Spiced Plum & Cherry Preserves
- 2 ¾ pounds plums, halved and pitted I used 8 large, fresh, light-purple plums.
- 1⅓ pounds sweet cherries I used a 600g bag of frozen sweet cherries, defrosted in their bag.
- 4 cups sugar
- 3 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 or 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground cardamom
- ¼ tsp ground clove
- 1½ inch knob fresh ginger peeled
Prepare for Canning
- Clean and sterilize 6 half-pint mason jars (or the equivalent) and keep them warm.
- Fill a large water bath canner with clean water and begin to bring the water to a boil.
- Place 6 mason jar lids in a small saucepan, covering them with hot water, and set on low/simmer to keep warm.
Make the Preserves
- Affix a candy thermometer to your copper or stainless jam pan or 6-quart heavy-bottomed pot.
- Halve the plums and pit them, discarding the pits. Then, quarter the plums by slicing each plum-half in half. [If you're using more, smaller prune plums – the size of walnuts or apricots – feel free to use halves rather than quarters.]
- Place the chopped plums, defrosted cherries [and any natural juices in the bag], water, lemon juice, sugar, and ground spices in your jam pan.
- With a microplane, grate the knob of ginger over top of the preserves mixture.
- Turn the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar as you do so.
- Once boiling, reduce the heat slightly [I like to waver between a 3 and 4 on my Low-1-to-6-High oven] and keep the preserves at a simmer or low-boil for anywhere from 20 to 60 minutes, stirring frequently, until the syrup thickens considerably and a candy thermometer reads 220℉. [My last batch took about 47 minutes, but time varies considerably due to climate, room temperature, and the wateriness of the fruit.]*
Can the Preserves
- Ladle the preserves into your warm, sterilized half-pint jars, leaving a ¼-inch headspace.
- Wipe jar rims clean, add a warm lid to each jar, and close with a ring, making sure each ring is not too tight by unscrewing a half-to-full turn after securing.
- Process the jars in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. With the lid on the canning pot, the water should return to a rolling boil before the timer starts.
- Remove the jars from the canner and allow to cool completely on wire racks.
- You may wish to rinse the jars to remove any residual stickiness before decorating with labels and ribbons.