SPICED SLOW-ROASTED PLUM JAM

February 24th, 2021

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I believe plums must be the most prolific stone fruit around (in the top of the south anyway). A short walk around our neighbourhood I notice many backyards with trees laden with fruit, along with wildlings growing on edges of parks and roadsides. 

In my own backyard, we also have our fair share of plums – black doris, greengage and omega – all great cookers for using in baking, preserves and oven jam. There is also a pesky wildling on the border of our property and the riverbank. It has stayed in place because the plums are a feast for the kererū that perform upside-down acrobatics to get to the cherry-sized fruits (pictured below). It is quite a spectacle watching these heavy birds swooping into and hanging in the spindly tree, taking a risk for that sweet treat. 

Spiced Slow-Roasted Plum Jam

I find when I cook plum jam on the stovetop, it takes a long time to cook down. In this recipe, I use the dry heat of the oven to concentrate the plums for an intensely flavoured jam, matched with warming spices. It is essential to use firm-fleshed plums for this low-sugar conserve, or it won’t cook down. I have included varietal suggestions below.
This makes a thick chunky jam, however, if preferred (like my husband requests) you can tip the jam into a saucepan, remove the whole spices and use a stick blender to puree. Reheat until piping hot then fill the hot jars.
Servings 3 x 250g jars
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 1.5 kg firm-fleshed plums – black doris, omega, or prune plums such as zwetschge
  • 1 cup 200g dark sugar such as demerara, coconut or brown sugar
  • 1 cinnamon quill
  • 1 star anise, broken into petals

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 180C (fan bake 170C).
  • Remove the stones from the plums and quarter. Arrange in a single layer in a roasting tray. Place into the oven and cook for 15-20 minutes, until the plums soften.
  • Reduce the heat to 160C (fan bake 150C).
  • Sprinkle the sugar over the plums and add the spices – don’t stir. Cook for 20 minutes to dissolve and caramelise the sugar. Remove the tray from the oven and gently stir then cook for a further 15-20 minutes, until the conserve is thick and bubbly around the edges (keeping in mind it will thicken some as it cools).
  • During this final stage of cooking, prepare the jars. Place the jars and lids into a large saucepan. Cover with cold water and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes, then turn off the heat.
  • When the jam is ready, scoop the HOT jam (along with a spice or two if you want) into the HOT jars and secure the lids (carefully removing the jars and lids from the hot water with tongs). Leave the sealed jars to cool on a wooden board.
  • Once jars are cool check lids are correctly vacuum sealed – they should be concaving into the jar – then store in a cool, dark place for up to 6 months. Once opened, keep the jam in the fridge and consume within 4 weeks.

Join the Conversation

  1. Hi thanks I love your book and recipes. This is a really stupid question but I’ve never been able to work out whether “firm-fleshed” means that there are specific varieties that have firmer flesh, like the ones you list above, or whether I need to make sure that the plums I select are not over-ripe and squishy? Thanks!

    1. Hi Alana, firstly, thank you for the lovely feedback.
      And not a silly question at all, I can see where there may be confusion. When I specify “firm-fleshed’ plums or peaches etc, I am referring to the variety of fruit that when ripe has a firm flesh rather than soft and juicy one. The reason for this is that when cooked they tend to hold their shape better for adding to sweet baking or when preserved don’t soften into a juicy mass that will take forever to cook down into a thick jam/preserve.
      I hope that helps to clafiry 🙂
      Nicola

      1. Yes thank you! 🙂

  2. Hi Nicola, sounds delicious. Do you think you could use damson plums for this? I just picked some and planned to make jam with them. Thanks 🙂

    1. Hi Nicky, always lovely to hear from you. I can’t see why damson plums wouldn’t work for this jam as they are firm-fleshed. However, as they are quite dry textured you may find they won’t need quite as long to cook as a juicier plum such as omega to achieve a nice thick jam texture.
      Happy jamming 🙂

      1. Hi Nicola, just coming on here to say I FINALLY made the damson plum version ( the plums had been in my freezer since this comment!) Bit fiddly removing the stones – I did it after the first stage. But totally worth it – it’s delicious. I cooked for a similar time. Using some in the Tosca cake this weekend. Thanks – enjoy the long weekend x

        1. That is great to hear Nicky. I also froze some of our plums this year and made some more of this jam recently. A real treat at this time of year when fruit is minimal. Glad you enjoyed!

  3. Colleen Brown says:

    I love your recipes, and your recipe book. With the cinnamon quill and star anise – do these break down with cooking? or, whizz up with pulp later? Or do you remove them before bottling?
    many thanks
    Colleen

    1. Hi Colleen, thank you 🙂 and good question. If I am not whizzing up the jam (my preferred option, while not my husbands) then I leave them in and preserve them along with the chunky jam into the jars. If I am whizzing it up then yes I remove the whole spices and leave them out as they don’t really go with the texture of a smoother jam. Does that make sense?
      Thanks, Nicola

  4. Pamela Roelants says:

    I made black doris plum jam using this method, definitely the best jam I have ever made in 65 years. I made peach jam yesterday using same method, 3 kg freestone yellow peaches and 2 cups demerara sugar, juice of 3 lemons and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Absolutely delicious!!!
    Thank you Nicola for this recipe of jam making.
    Pamela

    1. Hi Pamela, that is the best feedback I can hope for. I am always trying to come up with new ways to use up my excess fruit (and veg) and roasting fruit is a firm favourite to get the best flavour using less sugar.
      I love the sound of the peach jam too, sounds divine!
      Happy jamming
      Nicola

  5. I made this in the weekend and the wee sample I had when bottling tasted amazing. I don’t normally make jam due to the large amount of sugar needed so this method appealed. What other fruits do you think would be suitable for making slow roasted roasted jam?

    1. Hi Sue, great to hear. I love this jam as it isn’t too sweet. You can also make it with apricots and strawberries make a lovely roasted jam too. I will also be sharing a recipe for roasted strawberry jam in my 2024 recipe calendar, keep an eye out. Happy cooking 🙂 Nicola

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