I had already known for some time that Reine Claude plums are great for making jams. Reine Claude is how greengage plums are called in France, and that’s how I called them because it was Mr. H. who introduced me to them. They are called Reine Claude in honour of Claude, the Duchess of Brittany, queen escort to King Francis I of France. Sometimes, also in her honour, these plums are also called bonne reine, which means good queen.
Back to jam and how adequate Reine Claude plums are for them. For no reason, or silly reasons, until yesterday I had resisted making jam with these plums. Never say never. Yesterday has marked a before and after in my life. Only with regards to making jam with Reine Claude plums that is, no need for me to get too melodramatic. I truly recommend you to try making it next time you have a kilo of these gorgeous plums. In fact, this week I plan to buy 2 more kilos from the market to make more and stock up on this jam for this winter.
Just for the record, my silly reasons are the fact that I prefer red coloured berry jams, and until now I never really adored plummy jams. These excuses are silly indeed, especially if you take into account that one of my best jam recipes is my grapefruit and banana jam. It doesn’t contain a single berry and it’s not even red. It’s very dark orange. Alright, I’ll admit it’s nearly red. What are your jam preferences?
Reine Claude plums are small – about 5-6cm in diameter – and have an intense sweet velvety taste. They are perfect for jam making as they dissolve quite quickly and they have a high content of natural pectin, which makes them set quickly, so the jam retains their lovely flavour easily. Plus in about half an hour maximum you’re done. All those preconceived jam thoughts of stirring away for hours on end don’t apply with these plums.
Reine Claude Plum Jam Recipe
Ingredients (makes approximately 2 medium jars)
1300g Reine Claude plums
Juice of 1 lemon
Wash all of the plums thoroughly. Halve and remove the pits from all of them. Place the plums into a large saucepan. Add the juice of one lemon. Cook on medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes or until the plums have more or less dissolved.
Add the sugar. Bring the heat down to medium-low. Cook for about another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the jam has set. You can check that it has set simply by seeing that it takes on a kind of gelatinous film form over its surface, that sort of cracks when you put a spoon to it.
Let the jam cool a little then add into previously sterilised jars.