The Ultimate Rookie Guide Canning Plum Jam

Did you wake up this morning and say,”I’m going to can something today?” Do you have plums growing outside and you want to can for the first time? Great, you’ve come to the right place. Follow my rookie guide to canning plums. It’s simple, delicious and will save you some money in the long run. Learn how to can the Hood way.

First of all, is this Normal?

Do most people wake up and say, “I think I’m gonna can something today?”, even if they haven’t ever done it? Is this normal? Well I did, and let me tell you that it didn’t disappoint!

A little trivia….

Do you know what the difference between jam and jelly are? I had no idea so I again consulted google! Jelly is when the juice from the fruit is used, and Jam is when the pulp from the fruit is used to form the spread. From what I researched jelly tends to be thick and jam is more of a spread and thinner. It doesn’t set up as thick.

I don’t care if it’s jam or jelly give me some on some toasted bread and I’m a happy camper.

Today’s Tutorial 

Today I’m going to take you through my first ever canning experience. I have always wanted to try canning something but have never wanted to go out and buy a bunch of fruit to only destroy it by messing my jelly/ jam. When the fruit grows on the trees at your house every year, then it’s almost free right?

This year we have had a boat load (tad exaggeration) of plums. I had to do a bit of research to figure out what kind of plums these were but, thanks to google images, I’m pretty sure they are Guthrie Chicksaw Plums. They are red and orange, and are fairly small in comparison to the typical store bought plum.

When I consulted Pinterest for my recipe and tutorial I typed in “Red Plum Jam” and of course one of my fellow Texan bloggers, A Modern Homestead, popped up. If you recognize this name it’s because I also used her Great Depression Chocolate Cake recipe for the 4th of July.

Usually I look at several recipes to see basic ingredients when making new things. I just like to have an idea of what is crucial and what is tailored. Most recipes I saw were very basic, and included the following:

  • fruit of choice
  • water
  • sugar

Some recipes added lemon to their recipe but I decided not to use it because the plums I’m using have very tart skin and I was going to be using the skin in the recipe so I didn’t think my jam needed it.

Don’t learn the Hood hard way:

Before you wake up and say, “I think I’ll can something today!”, consider investing in a canning kit. I didn’t, and I burned the poop of out my hand a couple of times. It was a close call. And I thought they were going to have to amputate but, turns out, I’ll survive.

Probably could’ve been worse since I was using tongs you use to flip a burger to pull jars out of boiling hot water.  I checked amazon and this is their Best Seller and the one I’m going to order.

Click on picture to buy!                              Note: This is an affiliate link

Prepping for Cooking:

Last year I wanted to try canning as well but never got around to it. Instead I made overnight oats in them and loved them for that as well.

Affiliate Link

They are Weck brand, and are not the cheapest canning jars, but very durable and they were very easy to can with. They have several different styles (of which I want all of them). I used the 742 Mold Jar- 0.5L. It’s the one pictured.

I used the jam recipe from, A Modern Homestead, but I used the canning safely instructions from the Weck website since they are different.

To put it simply, you have to:

  • sterilize the jars, the lids, and the rubber rings
  • fill with whatever you are canning
  • seal by putting metal clasps on the lid and placing back in boiling water

Consult their website for more helpful information though cause I just can’t be an encyclopedia for y’all, because I’m trying to be a blogger! (flips hair)


  • 5 cups of plums
  • 3 cups of sugar
  • 3/4 cup water

Super simple! That’s exactly what I need!

I should can these !!

Other supplies:

  • 2 large pots
  • tongs (or the supplies in the canning kit)
  • a place for jars to cool

Ok! Let’s get POPPIN’- (Instructions)

Literally! That’s how I got most of the pits out of the middle of the plum. They were so ripe, you could just pop them out. Remember that our plums are also extremely small. I didn’t want to waste juice on a cutting board or any of the pulp.

WARNING: Popping plums is a messy business, if you were expecting to stay clean you are sadly mistaken. Get ready to get down and dirty! Wear an apron cause I squirted myself majority of the time. Again, don’t learn the Hood hard way.

1. Start boiling the water to sterilize jars, lids, and rubber rings. They will need to boil for 10 minutes and it takes a lot of water .

  1. Welcome to the hot tub……

2. Pop those plums! Or dice them into chunks. You need 5 cups!

  1. The knife and cutting board only got in the way.

3. Since I used the skins, and didn’t want super chunky jam, I used a hand held blender to blend up the pulp even more.

4. Add sugar and water to your plums.

5. Slowly bring to a boil until the sugar dissolves, then quickly boil till the jam begins to thicken. Stir so it doesn’t stick to the bottom.

(if foam forms at the top of jam, skim it off)

6. Make sure the jars have been sterilized for 10 minutes and then place them close to stove so that they are close to stove.

7. Ladle jam into jars and leave about 1/2 inch from the top. Caution: IT’S HELLA HOT. 

8. Use canning instructions in water for whatever jar you are using. I referred to the Weck website for this but boiled for 15 minutes.

9. Take jars out to cool

Now, I lost a jar of Jam during this process because of my lack of Canning kit tools and (my butter fingers). However, if I hadn’t lost that jar I would have yielded 3- 0.5L Weck Jars and a little leftover in a 4th jar.


What I noticed:

It seems like my jam had a foam form on it after I had put them back in the boiling water to SEAL the jar. Obviously, at this point I couldn’t take the foam off the top.

I didn’t add any pectin and it seems a little watery but it’s also still cooling so I can’t say it didn’t set up yet.

What I know!

This jam is MY JAM! It is so good. The skin of the plums are the perfect compliment to the sweet meat part of the plum and I couldn’t wait to eat it! In fact, I’m actually already planning to make more! YUMMMMMY!

See below for updates on this recipe!

However, if you hate jam or plums, it ok! You can always make this yummy Great Depression Chocolate Cake,  or these 3 ingredient Peanut Butteroons.

Let me know how your canning experience turns out! Also, I’m obviously a canner pro now that I have done it one time… tips and tricks are much appreciated.

Update: News Flash- I’m still a Rookie, however…

After further research and experimentation, I have decided to try this recipe without the water and with the juice of 2 full lemons and some of their zest.

Plums are a high pectin fruit, but my jam (although delicious), is still not achieving the “jam consistency”. It’s still runny.

Citrus fruits are high in pectin and so adding the lemon (doesn’t change flavor but has a purpose- adds more pectin).  WHAT A ROOKIE MISTAKE! I’m still trying to achieve the desired consistency without adding Sure-Jell.

Hints that I wished I had:

Use a candy thermometer to make sure your plums reach a boiling point of 220 degrees F.  Leave them at this temperature until the the jam begins to get thicker.

Also, the second time I made this jam, I used my food processor instead of my hand held blender to make sure the skins were not big. I really like the consistency of  the jam doing that and think I will continue to do it that way.

How to know if your jam is ready:

There were several techniques for telling if your jam was ready. 

1. Put a couple of drops of the jam on a cold plate and place in the freezer for a couple of minutes. If it has a gel like consistency when you take it out, then the jam is ready.

2. Use a spoon to dip it into the jam, when you pull the spoon up if the jam comes off smoothly and quickly, then it is not ready. If the jams comes off more in larger drops, then it is ready.


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