Mirabelle Jam

My mother has never bought a jar of jam in her life, and there is a simple reason why: she makes the best fruit jams that I have ever tasted. She is lucky to have a beautiful garden that she tends herself, and her many different fruit trees and bushes are there to fill our family’s breakfast table with raspberry, apricot, plum, currant, and mirabelle jam, and even lemon marmalade. The basic recipe my mother uses is the same for each fruit, and can be adjusted depending on how sweet you like your jam. It’s one of the more time-intensive recipes we have in our Come and Cook with Us collection but worth sharing as it turns out the sweetest summer memories. Come and cook with us!

Ingredients:
2 pounds mirabelles, whole, pits in
1/2 – 1 cup raw sugar (for lemon, use a 1:1 ratio of fruit to sugar)
2 peaches to thicken the plot, finely diced (note, you do not need the peaches with other fruits, but in this recipe they add some bulk to these tiny plums)

Instructions:
Using a heavy pot heat the mirabelles and peaches over medium-high heat. You will see the skins break around the fruit. That is a sign that the skins and pulp are falling apart.
Cook stirring frequently for about 30 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon remove all pits. This will take some time.
Return to heat and add sugar. Continue to stir.
In the meantime, gather six or seven 8-10 oz clean jars (best to run them through the dishwasher), and heat them up in the oven at about 275F. They have to be as hot as the jam to avoid breakage.
Sterilize the lids by heating them in a little water in a pan on your stove top.
Carefully remove one jar from the and fill it with the jam using a wide-mouth funnel and a small ladle. Try to be as precise as possible to avoid dripping jam to the outside of the jar. When the jar is full all the way to the top – and even a tiny little more – find the appropriate lid and close tightly using a wet towel to avoid burning your fingers. Turn the jar upside down and put on a dish cloth to cool.

Continue until all the jam is filled in the jars. You may hear the jars “pop” as the vacuum seal closes.

This is not a standard canning recipe, rather the one that is used in my town for closing up our fruit spreads.  The goal is to get vacuum sealed cans (you’ll know it sometimes from the pop and always from the fact that the top is concave, tightly attached and cannot be removed even if you pull at it). In Sudtirol, using this method we find our jars last for several years. That said, it is not the “proper” method for canning, so if you plan to keep these unrefrigerated, it’s worth looking into how to properly can.  You can keep these jars in the freezer for years, however, and they will be fine. In that case, however, you should not fill them all the way to the top as the jam will expand as it freezes.

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