Plum and star anise jam
Plum and star anise jam Photo by Vered Guttman
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Now that plums are bountiful and their price is at its lowest, it is a great time to preserve them for the rest of the year. Plums make for an excellent jam. Their tanginess naturally translates into an intense sweet, with a touch of sourness, jam that is just perfect on a slice of French bread with butter, over ice cream, and in this easy plum cake recipe.

Other stone fruit make great jams as well, especially apricots, nectarines and even peaches. The directions are similar for all, so you can use this recipe - with your favorite stone fruit.

I like to pair the plums with star anise when making the jam, it adds just enough of the anise flavor that I like and looks beautiful in the jar later (it’s not edible). Other spices that can work well are ginger (fresh or dried), cinnamon, cardamom, fennel seeds and vanilla. A little lemon juice and lemon zest are welcome at the last minute before removing the jam from the heat, especially if you’re using peaches or nectarines.

The recipe uses 2/3 pound sugar for every pound of fruit, which is less than the usual ratio, that’s why it is recommended to keep the prepared jam in the fridge.

And if you’re already at the stove and in the mood for preserving the summer, how about a cherry tomato jam? Keep the same ratio of sugar to fruit, add grated ginger and black peppercorn and serve over ice cream. Delicious!

Plum and Star Anise Jam:

Ingredients

2 lb. pitted ripe plums, roughly cut to quarters

1 1/3 lb. sugar

5 star anise

Directions

1.  Bring plums, sugar and star anise to a boil in a pot, skim scum off top and lower the heat to medium.

2.  Continue cooking for about 15-20 minutes, stirring often, until jam has a thick consistency. To check the thickness of the jam, spoon over a plate, wait for 1 minute and run your finger through the jam, if your finger leaves a line in the jam it is ready. Remove from heat and let cool. Refrigerate until ready to use (up to 1 month).