Coming to Michigan has been a wonderful experience. It’s summertime and everything here is so green and vibrant… not at all similar to the dry, hot summers of Southern California. The people are just as lovely as the weather this season, and I’ve had the great fortune of meeting a great number of lovely people so far.
One of the benefits of summer in this area has been the availability of cheap, fresh produce. Finding myself in an adventurous mood today, I decided to make my grandmother’s plum and lemon preserves. It was my first time attempting preserves, and it was much easier than I expected. I am happy to report that the recipe was a delicious success!
I’ve done my best to reproduce the recipe below. My grandmother has a tendency (like many Russians, I think) to eyeball ingredients, so while I’ve done my best to put them into proper American measurements, if you want to reproduce this recipe, you will most likely have to improvise a little on the amounts. One pound of plums makes the amount of preserves in the picture below (i.e. one small jar).
1 lb plums
2 cups sugar
1.5 cups water
1.5 fresh lemons
juice from half a lemon (optional)
Peel the lemons, and slice up their peels into thin, long strips. Cut the plums in half, pit them, and then cut each half up into thirds. Put plums, lemon peels, water, and sugar into the pot. If your plums are a bit sweet, or if you like your preserves extra tangy (as I do), then mix in the lemon juice as well. If you like your preserves a bit sweeter, forgo the lemon juice and add a little extra sugar instead. Set on low or medium-low heat.
Cook without any covering, stirring every 5-10 minutes to keep the preserves from sticking or burning, until the liquid is thick. One way to test for the liquid’s thickness is to drop a dab onto a plate. If it spreads out, then it’s not ready yet. Cooking should take around 1.5 or 2 hours. Allow to cool (preferably overnight) before serving, and store in the fridge if not using a canning method.
Serve with tea, on bread, on crêpes, or as you would any other preserve/jam.