[NAFEX] Wild Plum Jam - sooooo astringent

Stephen Sadler Docshiva at Docshiva.org
Mon Aug 25 13:51:13 EDT 2008

You might want to try some different techniques in very small batches, or
just sweeten the juice/puree and see what it's like before committing
yourself to a batch - some things you might try:

Do you have access to a cider/grape press? That can bypasses skin/pit/stem
flavors pretty well;  
Steam juicer?  You may well have the same problem;
Are the pits small enough you could cook the fruit until just soft and put
it through a food mill?  If you don't have a food mill, you can fill a
colander and press the pulp through with the bottom of a ladle;
You could try a cherry pitter first.  The thing is, and this might be good,
a cherry pitter used on small domestic plums will tend to take out the pit
with all the pulp attached - thus skinning the fruit (this depends on size
and variety).  Somewhere I have a prune/plum pitter, good for olives,
pitting prunes, and skinning small plums.  If you search for such a thing -
they're hard to find - get an all-metal one.  With a standard cherry pitter,
depending on design, the pulp may squeeze out with the pit and get stuck in
the pitter.

This is something I've thought about - I have a plum tree with fruit that
sounds exactly like yours.  I've made very nice jellies from other
sour-skinned plums, but these skins have a bitter flavor that might be a
problem.  I didn't try processing them this year, but had this list of
methods in mind for next year.  None of this may work - there's a reason for
the phrase "for the birds."

~ Stephen

-----Original Message-----
From: nafex-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org
[mailto:nafex-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of Diane Porter
Sent: Monday, August 25, 2008 4:10 AM
To: North American Fruit Explorers
Cc: Diane Porter
Subject: [NAFEX] Wild Plum Jam - sooooo astringent

I picked some wild plums that for the first time have ripened nicely.  
The skins are sour and astringent, but the juice is sweet and fragrant  
like flowers. I made some jam by nicking the skins, boiling the  
fruits, and squeezing out the juice.

Oh my, was it astringent! Clearly the skins ruined the jam.

I still have enough plums to try again, but how to go about it... The  
fruits are so small that it's not practical to skin them. Any thoughts  
on how to preserve the goodness and avoid the astringency of these  
lovely fruits?


Diane Porter, Fairfield, Iowa
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