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Best Plums for Jam


A jar of plum jam with fresh jams on the side.

One of the greatest methods to preserve plums and enjoy their delicious flavor all year is to make plum jam. Plum jam can be spread on toast or used to make delectable sweets. Plum jam can be used in a variety of ways. However, not all plums are suitable for jam making.

The plums you use for jam should be sweet. Picking sour plum types will not result in the sweet jams you’re used to from the supermarket. Making plum jam is a straightforward process that practically any home cook can master in no time. But, like with any good recipe, the key to making the best plum jam is to start with the best ingredients you can find. When it comes to producing jam, this entails choosing the right plum. While any European plum with a freestone can be used to make jam, some types are superior to others.

Best Plums for Making Jam

Here are our recommendations for the best plums for jam-making to get you started.

Yellow Plums

90% of all yellow plums farmed are turned into jam or brandy for commercial use. This type is used by professionals who make superb plum jams. Yellow plums (Lemon Plums) are a smaller, rounder kind available in the late summer and early fall.

When making jam, it’s ideal to use lemon plums that have just been picked, as the fruit loses a lot of its sweetness as it ripens.

Greengage Plums

The sight of these plums might be deceiving. They appear green even when absolutely ripe. Their skins range in color from light yellow-green to vivid lime with red flecks. Greengage Plums, despite their look, are not at all sour. Their flavor has a honey sweetness to it, and they typically have faint citrus undertones.

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Greengage Plums are medium-sized and may be frozen for up to a week once ripe, giving you extra time to make your jam. Greengage Plums are most commonly available from mid-summer onward.

Mirabelle Plums

Mirabelle Plums are one of the best plums for jams, jellies, and pasties, but they’re hard to come by outside of France. However, some producers in the United States produce Mirabelle or Cherry Plums with European ancestors. These small yellow to orange-colored plums are positively syrupy and well worth the effort it takes to find even Americanized versions.


Although plumcots are not true plums but rather an early plum-apricot hybrid, they are worth considering when making jam. Plumcots have pink to deep red flesh and are lemony yellow with reddish-blue coloring on the skin. They’re late-season fruit with firm flesh that pairs nicely with mint flavors to create unique jams.

Santa Rosa Plums

The Santa Rosa Plum is one of the most widely available plum kinds in the United States, and it makes excellent jam. They have thin skin and delicious, sugary-sweet flesh that contrasts nicely with a mild tartness in the skin. Santa Rosa Plums, the only clingstone kind on this list, take a little additional effort to pit, but their perfectly balanced flavor makes it worthwhile.

Plum Jam Making Instructions

Now that you know which plums make the best jams, let’s learn how to create excellent plum jams at home.

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Step 1: Cook the plums

In a Dutch oven or other large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the plums and orange juice. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to low heat and cook for 5-7 minutes, or until the plums soften.

Step 2: Mix in the Pectin

Return the pot to a rolling boil and cook for one minute, stirring regularly. The pectin will aid in the correct setting of the jam.

Step 3: Combine the Remaining Ingredients

Add the sugar, orange zest, and cinnamon to the pot while it is still boiling. If necessary, bring to a boil again and simmer for one minute while stirring constantly.

Step 4: Pour into Jars and Store in the Refrigerator

Turn off the heat in the pot. If any foam or froth has risen to the surface, scrape it off with a spoon and discard. Fill sterilized half-pint jars halfway with jam, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Remove any air bubbles from the jar. You can do this by inserting a spoon or knife (make sure it’s clean and dry) into the jam. Now, gently pressing against the jar’s side. Before putting the lid on the jar, wipe the rim clean.

Step 5: Put everything in a Hot Water Bath to Sterilize and Seal it

Place the jars carefully in a simmering water bath, making sure they are completely submerged. Boil the water, then remove the cans and set them aside for 5 minutes. Then remove from the fire and set aside in a cold, dry location. The pinging sounds of the cans sealing may be heard during the next few minutes. Check that the jars have been sealed after 24 hours and store in your pantry for up to a year. If any of the jars aren’t sealed properly, store them in the refrigerator and eat them as soon as possible.

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It’s not difficult to make a delicious plum jam. All you have to do now is select the appropriate plum kinds. Also, keep in mind that using peeled plums will result in a sweeter jam. If you don’t peel the plums, the jam will have a sour flavor. It is entirely up to you whether you want to create a plum jam with peeled or unpeeled plums.