Sweet Wild Fruits Jell
DEAR MELBA: Gene Ward asked for a tested and true recipe for Sand Plum Jelly including tips. We got this recipe from my sister-in-law, Cheryl McClendon in Beaver's Bend Village near Hotchatown. We've used it several times and have always had great success.
You don't need fruit pectin for this recipe, because wild plums contain enough pectin that the jelly will continue to jell while cooling in the jars. You will need a candy thermometer.
Gene asked for tips. The recipe calls for 4 pounds of sand plums. We like to use 3 pounds ripe plums plus 1-pound plums that are not so ripe but not green. Other tips are given throughout the recipe.
SAND PLUM JELLY
4 pounds sand plums
1 cup water
4 cups sugar
Wash plums. Do not pit nor peel. (I remove blemishes from the skin with a sharp knife.) Crush in the bottom of a large enamel or cast aluminum kettle with the 1-cup water. Bring to a boil, simmer for 15 minutes. As the plums soften, continue crushing. A vegetable masher works nicely. Strain juice through a cloth or colander.
Spread pulp on a cookie sheet and separate pits from pulp and skins. Discard pits. Add 1/2- to-3/4 cup of remaining pulp to the juice and enough water to make 5 cups juice. (Actually, we add all of the pulp and juice with enough water to make 5 cups, because we like a lot of pulp in it, and it adds more flavor to our jelly.)
Combine juice with sugar. Bring slowly to boiling, stirring until sugar dissolves. Boil slowly, stirring constantly, until mixture reaches 220 degrees on candy thermometer. This will take about 15 to 17 minutes. Remove from heat and pour into dry, warm, sterilized half-pint jelly jars. Be sure to leave about 1/2-inch at the top of the jars. Seal jars tightly. Fills approximately 7 jars.