If you want to make a quick jam to serve with cheese or spread between layers of cake, here’s a recipe you can use to guide you.
My friend Tzipi Hegedus, originally from Hungary, shared a simple method for making preserves that she remembered her own mother and grandmother using from the fruit that grew season to season.
Tzipi showed me this method with apricots and I’ve now made preserves with everything from cherries, blackberries and strawberries to plums and gooseberries.
It’s about equal parts (in weight) fruit and sugar. The lemon juice helps balance the flavor, develop the pectin so the jam holds together and also allows the preserves to last longer.
1 lb. sweet, ripe purple plums
1 pint of raspberries
1 lb. sugar
A splash of lemon juice
In a medium size stainless steel pot, combine the pitted fruit, berries and sugar. Add a splash of fresh lemon juice.
Bring the mixture to a boil over medium high heat and cook, stirring frequently to make sure the mixture doesn’t burn. Stand by to adjust heat and make sure the preserves don’t boil over.
Cook at a percolating simmer until it becomes thicker and a bit syrupy, about 15-20 minutes.
Test the preserves by adding a little to a plate and place in the freezer for about 5 minutes. When it’s completely cool, run your finger through the center and if it stays in place without oozing together, the preserves are ready. Transfer them to a clean glass bowl or dish and place a piece of plastic wrap against the fruit. Cool down completely and keep refrigerated for up to a week.