When I lived on a huge farm/ranch, I spent most of my springs and summers preserving foods. I was always canning, freezing, pickling, slicing, and dicing. I came up with some awesome recipes, largely through trial and error. We had plum trees, and although I’m not a big fan of fresh plums, I didn’t want a perfectly good food to go to waste. I decided to make my own homemade plum jelly. I followed several recipes for plum jelly, but I wasn’t really happy with any of them. They all had a bit of a “twang.” Sorry – I don’t know how else to describe the taste. I didn’t give up. I kept plodding along in my kitchen, and I finally hit on a creation that I liked. In fact, everyone liked it! Every year that I entered my homemade plum jelly into a competition, it always won first prize.
My plum jelly goes well with a wide array of Southern food. Why is this plum jelly so good? The taste is somewhat milder than that of traditional plum jelly. Also, the color is beautiful. So what’s the secret to the best plum jelly recipe? Believe it or not, I substituted red Hawaiian Punch for some of the water! It’s also important to let the juice from your plums drip slowly from a jelly bag or several layers of cheesecloth. If you squeeze the juice out, your jelly will wind up cloudy. My homemade plum jelly was a gorgeous clear red color, which helped it win those blue ribbons!
Holle’s Award Winning Plum Jelly recipe
What you’ll need:
- 5 pounds plums
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups red Hawaiian Punch
- 1 box Sure-Jell
- 7 1/4 cups sugar
Wash plums and remove pits. Cut in half.
Place plums in large pot and cover with water and Hawaiian Punch. Cook until plums are tender. This should take about 30 minutes.
Place fruit in a jelly bag, or use four layers of cheesecloth in a strainer. Allow juices to drip into a bowl. Don’t hurry the process! You’ll need 5 ½ cups of juice. If you don’t get enough, you can add a little more punch.
Pour the juice back in the pot and add the powdered pectin. Bring to a boil. When the mixture boils, add the sugar and bring to a full boil. While stirring constantly, boil for one minute and remove from heat.
With a ladle, carefully skim off any foam that might be floating on top. Using a funnel, ladle hot liquid into sterilized jelly jars. Leave a “head space” at the top – at least ¼ inch.
Wipe off jar rims with a damp cloth and close with sterilized lids and rims. Seal with paraffin, if you like. Place in the fridge when cool. If you want to keep the jelly on a shelf, process in a canner for five minutes.