The making of the plum jam has become an annual event here as Paggy has a huge tree in his garden. It all started our first year, when we weren’t working and we spent a slightly tipsy afternoon, plucking, stoning and cooking. Paggy being diabetic means he doesn’t like too much sugar and uses a very thick aluminium saucepan which makes it difficult to get the stuff hot enough to set. Heavens knows how tainted it is, I take my own stainless steel pan over now! However,while the first year was great, but we havent succeeded since. A couple of years there haven’t been enough due to bad weather in spring, but last year there was loads but we had huge trouble with the jam going mouldy. I’ve since heard it’s just something in the weather at the time of the picking, or we included too many mouldy ones or just that he left the jars in the sun in the kitchen – but my own made with different plums was just the same.
This year we went and harvested the day before, kept the mouldy ones away but we boiled and boiled and boiled the flipping stuff for hours and it wouldn’t set, despite my sneakily adding extra sugar when his back was turned. Too much water in the fruit he later informed me and we should have reduced it by half before trying to get it set. Quite honestly, next year he can get his cleaning lady to do it as I never seem to get it right for him!
I loved making jam when I was working on the farm in Switzerland and maybe its some form of nostalgia that makes me enjoy it here – especially as Dave rarely eats it!