plum-currant jam

1 pint    |   
Prep Time:
15 minutes + 30 minutes standing time    |   
Cook Time:
about 1 hour

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plum jam

A neighbor showed up not long ago with a bag of treasures: wild plums from the Presidio, the national park conveniently located at the end of my street. They were dark purple and sweet-sour, too squishy for a tart but perfect for jam. Problem is I don’t do canning. I have no patience for measuring sugar-fruit ratios and ladling through funnels and sticking on fancy labels. What I needed was a quick, easy refrigerator jam. This recipe, from a charming cookbook about East European dishes, came to my rescue. You can make it with any plums in the market and it yields just enough to enjoy yourself or split with someone else. It will keep in the fridge till summer’s end, but I doubt you will have it around that long if you eat it as I have: spooned over fresh ricotta on toast, swirled into Greek yogurt, or slapped together with peanut butter.

Adapted from Mamushka: Recipes from Ukraine and Eastern Europe by Olia Hercules


1/2 cup currants or golden raisins
1/3 cup rum
1 scant cup brown sugar, not packed
1/4 cup honey
grated zest and juice of 1 orange
grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 lb plums, pitted and chopped
1 vanilla bean or 1 tablespoon vanilla extract


Put the currants or raisins and rum in a glass measuring cup. Heat in the microwave for 30 seconds on high (or combine them in a small pan and heat over the stove) then let stand for 30 minutes.

In a saucepan, mix together the sugar, honey, citrus zest and juice. Place over medium heat and bring to a gentle boil. Stir in the rum-soaked fruit and the plums and stir well (if plums aren’t very juicy, add 1/4 cup water). If using vanilla bean, spilt the pod lengthwise with a paring knife and scrape out the seeds. Stir the pod and seeds into the plum mixture. If using extract, stir it in. Lower heat and simmer mixture until thickened and jammy, 50 to 60 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes or so to make sure it is not scorching, and adjusting heat as necessary.

Meanwhile, wash a 1-pint canning jar or two 8-oz jars and fill with boiling water. When jam is ready, drain jar(s) and dry with a clean towel. Pour jam into jar(s), then seal with clean lid(s). Let cool to room temperature on the counter, then store in the refrigerator for a month or more.