My first experience with plums was a very happy one. I was all of five and my friend and I were playing on the side of an incline into a ditch beside the street. The house behind us had a fence around the backyard and we sat, playing cards and dolls under this tree.
It was a nice shade tree in the summer but by late summer it had grown into a snack tree. It had the most wonderful sweet fruit. The skin was a deep purple-red and the inside was refreshing on a hot day. We ate lots as the day went on. We both loved those plums.
To prepare the jars, they can be washed in a dishwasher if it has a sanitized cycle. The jars can be left in the dishwasher on a heat cycle. The lids need to be washed and left in the hot water. The canner needs to be filled so that there will be an inch of boiling water over the top of the jars.
Plums can be picked yourself or you may want to find a good farmer's market. If you figure about 2 pounds per quart, you can figure how much you need for what you plan to can. The plums should be a deep, rich color of purple. Be sure to do a taste test to see if the plum is sweet and ripe. What you put in that can is what you will get out. If the plum isn't tasty now, it won't be when it comes from the can either.
You can use either water or simple syrup when canning plums. The water will have to be hot if you use it. If you are going to use syrup, make it now. Light syrup would be 2 cups of sugar to 4 cups of water, medium syrup would be 3 cups of sugar to 4 cups of water, and heavy syrup would be 4 3/4 cups of sugar to 4 cups of water.
Start heating the water in a saucepan and add sugar gradually. Bring to a gentle boil and boil until the sugar is completely dissolved. Keep boiling gently for about 5 minutes. I would suggest light syrup for plums.
By Mary Belk
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