This plum and port jam recipe makes a very versatile savoury and sweet jam. Equally at home on a cheese board as it is on a slice of bread. Pairing juicy plums with the rich, fruity flavours of Portugal’s famous alcoholic tipple, with subtle underlying spices.
A Taste of Porto
Port, also known as port wine or Porto, is a rich sweet wine made in Portugal. Portuguese grapes are what make Port so unique. Over 70 different varieties are used to create various different kinds of port. Similar to Champagne, only that which is made in the Douro region of northern Portugal can be called ‘port’ or ‘Porto’ according to EU law. You can find several well known brands available to buy in the UK at your local supermarket, as well as more expensive vintage ports from specialist outlets.
I tend to associate it as a Christmas drink, or as an accompaniment to a cheese board, but it can be so much more than that. Not only a delightful tipple, but it turns out it’s a little bit of a dark horse when it comes to cooking. Port can be used in both savoury and sweet dishes alike, as a substitute for other ingredients such as red wine.
Monarch Airlines have recently launched flights to Porto in Portugal. To celebrate and promote this, I was asked to take part in their “A Taste of Porto” blogger challenge. I was challenged to come up with a recipe that used port instead of other more common ingredients as a twist on a classic.
Plum and Port Jam
For those of you that are regular readers of this blog, you will know that I love making jam. Our plum trees are currently laden with fruit, and to me, plum and port seemed an obvious pairing. So I set about making a plum and port jam. I have made chutney’s and sweet jams before, but not tried to make a savoury jam. I was a little out of my kitchen comfort zone.
However the resultant plum and port jam was delicious. My daughter loved it and insisted on having it on toast. Whereas I preferred it with cheese and crackers like how you would have a chutney. Particularly scrummy with Brie!
Here’s how I did it.
- 1 lb plums, washed, halved and stones removed
- 1 lb granulated sugar
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- Mulled wine spice sachet (you can add your own spices in a muslin bag, but I used a ready made sachet for convenience)
- 75mls port
How To Make It
- You need to start this recipe the night before you want to make it. Place the plums in a bowl and add the sugar. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
- The next day add the plums and sugar mix to a pan, and add the remaining ingredients. Keep on a low heat, stirring until the sugar is completely dissolved and no longer has a grainy texture.
- Slowly increase the heat to boil, and boil for about 30 minutes whilst stirring.
- Once it has a more jam like consistency, turn up the heat and boil fast to set! (See my jam making tips below)
- When it’s ready, remove the spice sachet and transfer to sterilised jam jars (see tips later), use a clean cloth to wipe the rim and apply wax discs.
- When cooled, add cellophane lids, sprinkle water on top to add to shrinkage and apply elastic band. They are now ready for labelling, and you can add a fabric top if you wish.
- That’s it, enjoy!
My Jam Making Tips
As I have said before I am no professional jam maker, and do it purely as a hobby. However, in making jams I have learn’t a few tricks to make the process a bit easier so here are my tips.
- Pop a little plate in the freezer when you start making your jam. When you think you have reached the setting point, pop a little blob onto the cold plate, give it a few seconds and then touch it. It should wrinkle when you touch the surface, and if you run your finger through the centre of the jam blob it should stay there and not merge back together (does that make sense?). If it’s not ready return the jam to the heat and re-test again in 3 minutes until you get to the setting point.
- Sterilising jars- I tend to wash mine in the dishwasher at high temperature, and then I use my old bottle steriliser from when the kids were babies to sterilise my jam jars. Alternatively you can wash them and heat them in the oven (although I have no experience of this)
- You can fill jars the hard way with a spoon but it is is messy. A jam funnel makes the process a lot easier. It’s a cheap investment if you are going to make more than one batch of jam in your lifetime.
- You can buy wax discs and cellophane covers from many outlets now including the larger supermarkets. I usually head to Amazon as I buy in bulk, but I recently found a pretty fabric lid set which including labels and everything you need (bar the jars) from Hobbycraft.
- When the jam is boiling it tends to spit, and molten sugar is hot! I wear a single over glove on my stirring hand which makes the process more comfortable. It’s also important to keep the kids well away when doing this part.
- Once you’ve got the hang of jam making, the world is your oyster! Same quantity of fruit to sugar and there you have it. You can get a little adventurous and try different fruit combinations, or add spices, chilli or even alcohol.
- Some fruit is low in pectin and needs pectin added (I have no experience of adding pectin). You can use jam sugar which has pectin in, or I tend to add lemon juice.
Last tip. Clean any splashes from your stove whilst still warm. Set jam on hobs is not easy to get off!!
NB. I am a home cook, and have had no formal training in preparing food. So these are just recipes that I use at home for the family. Whilst I have taken time to try and be as accurate as possible, some of the quantities are approximate. I am always keen to learn, so if you think the recipe can be improved upon please take the time to comment below. I also love seeing your versions.
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Disclaimer: This post was produced in association with Monarch Airlines as part of their ‘Taste of Porto’ blogger challenge, for which I was given a gift card to cover the cost of the ingredients.