Blog powered by TypePad
Member since 02/2010

You can find 1000+ of my kitchen-tested recipes using the Recipes tab, watch nearly 100 of my Kitchen Encounters/WHVL-TV segments using the TV Videos tab, join the discussion about all of my creations using the Facebook tab, or Email your questions and comments directly to me--none go unanswered. Have fun!


~ Pucker Up: Tart and Sweet Shiro Plum Preserves ~

IMG_1107The Japanese Shiro plum is indeed the golden, greenish-yellow goddess of the yellow plum world.  "To know them is to love them", I couldn't agree more, and, this has been a banner year for our 18-year-old backyard tree.  Every year, we eat a lot of these very sweet, mildly-tart beauties by the handfuls, and, every year I make a ~ Golden Goddess:  Shiro Plum & Egg Custard Tart ~ or two or three (just click on the Related Article Link below to get the recipe).

IMG_0930 IMG_0900They store well in the refrigerator for about ten days too. This has served me well in the past because I've never had an overwhelming amount of this very-tasty clingstone fruit to process (they are much to watery to freeze without cooking them in some manner).  This year, when Joe presented me with two 25-pound baskets of picked plums, I had to think fast, and, lets face it, making jam or preserves is a fruit gardener's wife's secret weapon.

That said, I've always avoided making plum preserves in general because I remember watching my grandmother stand around a pot of simmering water, gently lowering batches of purple plums into it for a brief scald to loosen their skins, then, removing them from the water bath, removing their skins, then dicing the fruit.  It's labor intensive.  Not wanting to do that, I decided to make a small test batch of Shiro plum preserves in my bread machine, without peeling them, just to see if skin-on plum preserves would be plumb pitiful -- they turned out plumb wonderful!

IMG_8518The bread machine?  Yes indeed. My bread machine, which has a "jam cycle", has become my best friend for making small batch preserves -- it takes most of the guesswork out of the process, and, once the fruit is diced, it does all of the work.  To make preserves in the bread machine, the only change you have to make to traditional stovetop recipes is:  use powdered, not liquid pectin.  Here's why:

While liquid and powdered pectin both achieve the same thing, they're a thickener, they are not used in the same manner.  For stovetop methods, liquid pectin is always added to the boiling mixture near the end of the cooking process while powdered pectin is stirred into the raw fruit at the beginning.  In the case of cooking on the stovetop, the option of liquid or powdered is available to you (although you should always follow the recipe).  When it comes to the bread machine, once you start the automatic jam cycle, stirring liquid pectin in at the end is no longer an option.  Therefore, I use powdered pectin in my bread machine recipes.

IMG_0653Two very important points of note: #1)  Do not double any jam or preserve recipe that gets made in any bread machine.  They will not thicken properly.  Use the bread machine exclusively for small batches yielding 3 1/2-4 total cups of end product.  #2)  Unless a recipe states that it's ok to use frozen, partially-thawed or thawed fruit in the bread machine or on the stovetop, proceed with caution before considering that substitution -- on second thought, don't do it.

What's the difference between jelly, jam. preserves and marmalade?

IMG_1123It all boils down to the form the fruit takes on in the end.  Jelly is made from fruit juice and is gelatinous. Jam is made from pulp, pureed, mashed or smashed fruit and is softer, more spreadable than jelly. Preserves are made from diced, chunked or whole fruit with it being looser than jam, spoonable rather than spreadable. Marmalade is made from citrus fruit, sometimes containing chards of rind or bits of zest, and, has a consistency between jelly and jam. As for jam and preserves, it's difficult to differentiate the two, and, the terms are often used interchangeably. Past one being chunkier, in both cases, the thickness is controlled by how much pectin gets added, which is determined by personal preference.

IMG_1056For the Shiro plum preserves:

5-6  cups unpeeled and chunky-diced Shiro plums

1 1/2  cups sugar

1  teaspoon each:  pure almond and vanilla extract

a scant 6 tablespoons powdered pectin (1 box Sure-Jell)*

Note: To learn more, click on the Related Article link below ~ How and When to use Liquid or Powdered Pectin ~.

IMG_1067~ Step 1.  Prep plums as directed and place in the pan of the bread machine to which the kneading paddle has been attached.

IMG_8490~ Step 2. Insert pan into bread machine, close lid, plug machine in and select "jam" cycle.  Press "start".  When cycle is complete, open the lid and carefully remove the pan from the machine -- IMG_1072this is very hot stuff!

IMG_1077~ Step 3. Using a large slotted spoon, transfer and evenly divide the chunky fruit between 2, 2-cup food storage containers, then pour the remaining liquid into the containers.  Note: This insures that all of the chunky fruit gets distributed evenly.  That  IMG_1134said, depending upon how ripe and juicy the fruit was, it is not unusual to have a small amount of liquid leftover in the bread machine pan.

~ Step 4.  Partially cover the containers and allow the preserves to come to room temperature, about 2-3 hours, prior to covering completely and refrigerating several hours or overnight.  The preserves will thicken as they chill.  Preserves can be stored in the refrigerator for several weeks (if they last that long) or frozen without compromise for a year or longer.  Thaw in refrigerator.

Small-batch bread-machine preserves couldn't be easier to make.

IMG_1141Ten containers = 5 quarts = plumb wonderful!

IMG_1146Pucker Up:  Tart and Sweet Shiro Plum Preserves:  Recipe yields 3 1/2-4 cups of preserves per batch.

Special Equipment List:  cutting board; serrated knife; bread machine; large slotted ladle or spoon; 2, 2-cup size freezer-safe containers w/tight fitting lids

6a0120a8551282970b014e89e63163970dCook's Note: Stone fruits, like peaches and plums make delicious pies too.  My recipe for ~ Easier than Pie:  Rustic Peach & Almond Galettes ~ is in Categories 6 or 20!

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos Courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2015)


Darrell -- Nice to meet you. Recipes for the bread machine are ingredient specific. Any substitution can cause the recipe to fail. While using a bag of frozen fruit on the stovetop might work just fine (because you are in control of the process and can taste, add or subtract ingredients, to control the taste and the consistency, that is not the case with a bread machine. Once you close the lid, you do not open it again until the process is complete. So, on that point, unless a recipe for the bread machine states to use a bag of frozen fruit, I do not recommend making the substitution "willy-nilly".

In your post you include the following admonition:
"#2) Unless a recipe states that it's ok to use frozen, partially-thawed or thawed fruit in the bread machine or on the stovetop, proceed with caution before considering that substitution -- on second thought, don't do it."
I am curious what your reasons are for this?
I am a practitioner of food preservation for 55 years, a classically trained chef(now retired),a food historian and a UCCE Master Food Preserver.
I have often seen this exclusion regarding the use of frozen fruit and I always find it curious.
The only detriment to frozen fruit is the possible degradation of the natural pectin, but this is rendered mute by the use of added pectin in the recipe.
I would appreciate your taking time to comment on this.
Thank you,
Darrell Fluman

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment