Chocolate Plum Jam

It is 108 degrees outside right now.

You know that feeling when you get into a hot car that’s been sitting in the sun? I feel like that, except there is no engine to start, no windows to roll down, and no air conditioning to turn on. I am just finding my zen place instead.  Existing inside of the hot car.

My brain feels funny.

The upside of all of this is that instead of doing any kind of work at all, I’m going to sit here on the computer and write a blog post instead, with what is potentially the most important jam recipe in the history of food preservation and the written word: Dark Chocolate Plum Jam.

But first, The Disclaimer: Chocolate is tricky in jam. Putting in too much will make the resulting sweet confection completely delicious but also completely not safe for water bath canning. I don’t know what amount is officially “too much” I’m not a food scientist, or any kind of scientist for that matter.  (This recipe has had several variations…*)

When it’s 108 outside, if you happen to be in a commercial kitchen, I recommend the following gel test: When you think the jam is ready, remove the pot from the heat.  Put a teaspoon full of jam on a plate. Go to the walk-in freezer. Stand in there holding the plate for two full minutes. You will feel amazing, and if you run your finger across the jam it wrinkles, you will know that it’s set.

Santa Rosa Plum Jam with Dark Chocolate

Cooking Time: 45 minutes

Makes: I can’t remember. About 4 1/2 pint jars I think. It’s hot out though, and I wasn’t really planning to post this recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 6 c. santa rosa plums, diced (or any plums, really)
  • 5 c. sugar
  • 1/4 c. organic cocoa powder, sifted (I used Trader Joe’s brand)
  • 2 tbs. lemon juice

Bring boiling water canner to a boil.  Make sure jars and lids are cleaned and sterilized (I do this for everything, even if it’s a jam that has a long enough processing time that you don’t really have to sterilize your jars… it makes me feel safe, like a warm fuzzy blanket). 

In a small bowl, combine cocoa powder and 1/2 c. sugar. Set aside. In a large, nonreactive pot, combine the plums, the remaining sugar and the lemon juice. Bring to a full rolling boil. Stir in the cocoa powder/sugar mixture. Cook until jam reaches 220 or so on a candy thermometer, or whatever your preferred gel test is if you’re not using a thermometer. (Technically, my jam only hit around 216 and still was completely set once it cooled). 

Pour hot jam into hot jars leaving 1/4″ head space. Process 10 minutes in a boiling water canner.

I’ll have to add some pictures of the finished jam some other day as they seem to have escaped my camera.  Or you’ll have to just make it yourself and find out.

and just one more small thing . . .

While you’re at it, you can also slice plums and dip them in melted chocolate, set them on a cookie sheet on top of some wax paper, stick them in the fridge to harden, ending up with Chocolate-Covered Santa Rosa Plums, which are about a million times more delicious than chocolate covered strawberries. While they’re still warm you can also roll them in chopped hazelnuts if you like that kind of thing. Just so you know, while we’re on the subject of chocolatey plum ideas.

Oh, I just realized why plums are making me so happy today:

This is Just To Say

I have eaten

the plums

that were in 

the icebox

and which 

you were probably

saving

for breakfast

Forgive me

they were delicious

so sweet

and so cold

– William Carlos Williams

(My brain has been associating plums with cold since I first read that poem in 11th grade).

* The first version of this recipe used low-sugar pectin and 100% cacao dark chocolate, but I’ve edited it to make a more consistent final product. Cocoa powder makes it easier not to burn the chocolate, and getting rid of the commercial pectin results in that lovely jammy texture that we all love.