Our jamming kettles & canners were quite busy the other day as I multi-tasked, something I usually don’t recommend with preserving. However, I needed to do some testing of some new jars and lids that we may add to our line, and I needed to put up some tomato jam for our family. While getting my tomatoes at our local orchard, some plums & white peaches jumped into my basket. So, I got busy making Marisa McClellan’s Plum Star Anise Jam and my version of her Yellow Tomato Basil Jam. (To hear more recipes from Marisa McClellan register for our meet the author and canning event on August 8th.)
Sometimes, doing multiple batches of preserves isn’t a good thing – like when you’re using pectin other than Pomona’s, when you have a very finite amount of time in which to complete your canning or when the recipe specifies “do not double”.
However, sometimes multiplying your batch is OK. If you have the time and if you’re using Pomona’s. It also helps if you have a nice wide jam pot, as it increases your evaporation surface area. My Le Creuset kettles are perfect for this – we use them for all of our preserves. They heat evenly, and the smooth, creamy finish makes stirring and cleanup a breeze. While they are pricey, I was able to get some at a great discount at our local Le Creuset outlet – which is what triggered my discussion with the gals there about doing some canning demos.
An important note when doubling batches: It’s still important to cook your jam down in order to decrease the water content in your end product. The sugar and the evaporation work together to lower the water activity – which plays an important role in pH stability and the shelf life of your preserve. If you double your batch, you can plan on cooking (don’t forget stirring) it more than twice the time of the original recipe. Even though I put both kettles on the stove at the same time, I had my Plum with Star Anise Jam jarred, processed and cooling with time to spare before my tomato jam was ready. I knew I had the time, so it worked for me.
We’ll be sharing the recipe with their original measurements. I did use a mix of yellow & dark plums and actually tripled the recipe. I love that Marisa uses weights! I’m not great at estimating how much fruit I have – and how much prepared (trimmed, pitted or cored) I’ll end up with. It’s so much easier to use my kitchen scale as I prepare the fruits. Then I do the math and adjust the amounts for the other ingredients accordingly.
1 pound (460g) Italian Plums – Pitted & Chopped
¾ Cup (150g) granulated sugar
3 Star Anise
8 pounds tomatoes; cleaned, cored & chopped
6 cups sugar
1 cup lemon juice
Zest of 2 – 4 lemons (actually only used 2)
½ cup clean, chopped basil
Let them cool for 24 hours, remove bands & check seals.
To hear more recipes from Marisa McClellan register for our meet the author and canning event on August 8th.