Delicious Homemade Plum Jam: A Sweet Summer Treat

Easy & Delicious Homemade Plum Jam Recipe

Transform your bounty of ripe plums into a luscious, spreadable delight with this easy homemade plum jam recipe. Perfect for novice canners and seasoned preservers alike!

Ever found yourself with more plums than you can eat? Whether you’re blessed with an overactive plum tree or went a bit overboard at the farmers market, this homemade plum jam recipe is your delicious solution. It’s the perfect way to capture summer’s sweetness in a jar, ready to brighten up your breakfast toast or afternoon scone all year round.

As someone who once faced the “plum-demic” of an 80-pound harvest, I’ve honed this recipe to perfection. Get ready to embark on a jamming adventure that will fill your pantry with jars of ruby-red deliciousness!

The Secrets to Spectacular Plum Jam

After countless batches, I’ve uncovered the keys to creating the most flavorful, perfectly-set plum jam. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Choose super-ripe plums: The riper, the better! Opt for plums that are soft, fragrant, and ready to burst with juice. These will yield the most intense flavor.
  • Macerate overnight: Give your plums and sugar time to mingle in the fridge. This process draws out the fruit’s natural juices, resulting in a fresher-tasting jam that cooks more quickly.
  • Keep sugar in check: We use a moderate amount of sugar to let the plum flavor shine. Pomona’s Universal Pectin helps achieve the perfect set without excess sweetness.
  • Skip the lemon for fridge jam: If you’re not canning for long-term storage, omitting lemon juice allows the pure plum flavor to take center stage.
  • Use a wide pan: A broader cooking surface means faster evaporation and a more concentrated plum flavor.
  • Embrace the chunks: Leaving some plum pieces intact creates a delightful texture contrast in your finished jam.

Step-by-Step Plum Jam Magic

Step 1: Prep Your Plums

Start by pitting and quartering your plums. For clingstone varieties like elephant heart plums, use a sharp knife to cut around the pit. Don’t discard those skins – they’re packed with flavor and pectin!

Step 2: The Maceration Station

Combine your prepped plums with sugar and pectin in a large bowl. Cover and let this mixture hang out in the fridge overnight. This step is like a flavor party where all the ingredients get to know each other.

Step 3: Spoons in the Freezer

Before cooking, pop a few metal spoons in the freezer. These will be your jam-testing tools later on.

Step 4: Let’s Get Cooking

Transfer your macerated plum mixture to a wide pot or Dutch oven. Add the calcium water and begin cooking over medium heat. Stir frequently to prevent any scorching – nobody likes burnt jam!

Step 5: Mill for Smoothness (Optional)

Once your plums have softened, you can run about half the mixture through a food mill for a smoother texture. This step is optional but creates a nice balance of chunky and smooth.

Step 6: Simmer and Skim

Continue cooking your jam, skimming off any foam that forms on the surface. A touch of butter helps reduce foaming and adds a subtle richness.

Step 7: The Frozen Spoon Test

When your jam looks thick and glossy, it’s time for the frozen spoon test. Drop a small amount on a frozen spoon and return it to the freezer for 5 minutes. If it’s set to your liking, you’re done!

Step 8: Jar It Up

Carefully ladle your hot jam into clean, sterilized jars. Wipe the rims, apply the lids, and screw on the bands.

Step 9: Process for Shelf-Stability (Optional)

If you want to store your jam at room temperature, process the jars in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Let them cool naturally to ensure a proper seal.

Homemade Plum Jam Recipe


  • 4 pounds (1.8kg) pitted black or elephant heart plums, unpeeled, cut into quarters
  • 1 1/2 pounds (675g) granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Pomona’s Universal Pectin (optional; see notes)
  • 4 teaspoons (20ml) calcium water (optional; see Pomona’s pectin package for instructions)
  • 2 1/2 ounces bottled lemon juice (5 tablespoons; 75 ml; see notes)
  • 1 teaspoon (5g) unsalted butter


  1. In a large bowl, combine plums, sugar, and pectin (if using). Toss gently to coat. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or up to 24 hours to macerate.
  2. Place a few metal spoons in the freezer for testing jam later. Wash and sterilize 6 pint-sized canning jars and lids. If planning to process for shelf-stability, prepare a water bath canner. Transfer the plum mixture to a large, wide pot and stir in calcium water. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching. Simmer until plums are mostly softened, about 15 minutes. For a smoother consistency, mill about half of the plum mixture using a food mill, then return it to the pot.
  3. Continue cooking until the mixture starts to foam. Skim off and discard foam with a metal spoon. Add butter and bottled lemon juice (see notes). Cook for about 15 minutes more, stirring occasionally, until foaming subsides. Keep cooking, stirring more frequently, until jam becomes glossy, approximately 10 additional minutes.
  4. To test for doneness, place a small amount of jam on a frozen spoon and return to the freezer for 5 minutes. Check the consistency – it should be spreadable but not runny. Continue cooking if needed until desired texture is achieved.
  5. Carefully ladle hot jam into prepared jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Wipe rims clean, apply lids, and screw on bands until just snug. For refrigerator storage, let jars cool completely at room temperature before refrigerating. For shelf-stable storage, process jars in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Remove jars and let cool undisturbed for 24 hours before checking seals and storing.


Pomona’s Universal Pectin is recommended for a firmer set, especially with this lower-sugar recipe. If not processing for shelf-stability, feel free to omit the lemon juice for a purer plum flavor.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
36 Calories
0g Fat
9g Carbs
0g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 96
Amount per serving
Calories 36
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 0mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 9g 3%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 9g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 2mg 9%
Calcium 1mg 0%
Iron 0mg 0%
Potassium 30mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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