I found my inspiration for this jam earlier last week on the Grow It Cook It Can It blog. Of course I couldn’t leave it alone, and had to play around with the idea until I created something that was mine. I like to make old-fashioned cooked jams, so I almost always remove the pectin from a recipe. I also prefer to use honey in place of sugar. Also, last year’s experiment with Salted Butterscotch Peach jam taught me that a bit of salt has it’s place in jam.
There’s no way I can top my inspiring blogger’s post on her jam, and the wonderful poem by William Carlos Williams , so I’m not even going to try.
When I give some of the measurements, notice that I indicate amounts “up to”. The amount of honey, lemon juice, and spices will depend on the ripeness, sweetness, and acidity of the plums. These factors can vary quite a bit, so I always taste as I go. My plums were perfectly ripe and very sweet. I used only 1 cup of honey and the juice of 1/2 a lemon. Also, I found that only 1/2 ounce of the chocolate gave me what I wanted without overwhelming the flavor of the plums. If you’ve never cooked with cardamom, let me warn you that a little can go a very long way. If you’re using store-bought ground cardamom, you’ll probably end up using a whole 1/4 teaspoon. If you split the pods and grind the seeds like I do, then you’ll need less. One last note, because this is a cooked jam, the volume will reduce by almost half … another reason it’s important to go easy on the spices, taste as you go, and adjust at the end of the cooking (if needed).
Chocolate Cardamom Plum Jam
3 pounds skinned, chopped plums (approximately 6 cups)
1 to 1 1/2 cup local raw honey
Up to 1/4 cup lemon juice
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 to 1 ounce grated, good quality 100% cacao baking chocolate
Salt to taste (optional)
To make skinning plums easy, drop them in boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds, and then remove to ice water.
Place plums in a wide shallow pan over medium heat. Add honey, lemon juice, and cardamom. Once the mixture reaches a boil, turn the heat down and simmer for 30 minutes to an hour, or until the plums reach the desired jam like consistency. Add grated chocolate and stir to incorporate. Add salt to taste.
If you would like to can the jam, prepare jars and lids according to standard canning practices. Process for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath canner.