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Victoria Plum

Richard Bell’s Wild West Yorkshire nature diary Saturday, 23rd August 2008


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MY MUM’S old Victoria Plum tree, growing against a high, south-facing wall, once again has a heavy crop which, thankfully, because of the rainy weather, isn’t ripening all at once and falling off the tree.


Three reasons why Barbara and her mum think this is their most successful batch of jam so far:


1. Slightly under-ripe fruit seems to make better jam than over-ripe would.

2. We now have a wok burner on our new gas hob which can give an even, controllable heat under our large aluminium jam pan.

3. After so much practice with batches of over-done and under-done jam they were able to get the texture just right (the test is to put a spot of jam on a cool plate and leave it in the fridge for a few minutes; the surface should crinkle when you touch it).



They had 4lb 4oz of prepared plums to which they added 4lbs of sugar (neither the sugar nor the plums had been heated previously). On a gentle heat, stirring occasionally they brought this to the boil and simmered it very gently until it passed the crinkle test.


Jars: washed in hot water, dried and put in a low oven prior to filling with jam. Wax disks are dropped onto the jam while it’s still hot.

I drew this, with a rather worn 0.5 Staedtler pigment liner, in the evening under artificial light; the jam looked better in the kitchen this morning with the sun shining on it from behind.