Making jam doesn’t have to be intimidating! This plum jam from Liz at Floating Kitchen is a simple way to start canning yourself. This recipe featuring September’s Fruit-of-the-Month includes vanilla and cardamom for a unique additional flavor.

Have you avoided making homemade jam or marmalade in the past because it seemed too intimidating? I’m right there with you. I used to feel the exact same way. But not anymore! Now I regularly make small-batch refrigerator jams with full confidence. This plum jam recipe is quick, simple and totally foolproof.

This easy plum jam with cardamom and vanilla is the perfect recipe to kick start your homemade jam obsession. You only need 4 ingredients: Harry & David Plums, sugar, cardamom and vanilla. There is absolutely zero fancy equipment required and no technically challenging tricks to learn.

How to Make Jam

To start, you’ll want some super ripe Harry & David Plums. The riper the better! Pit them, chop them (no need to peel them) and then let them macerate overnight with some granulated sugar. If you like your jam really sweet, use the full 2 cups of sugar listed in the recipe below. If not, use a little bit less. The following morning the plum mixture will be extra juicy and soupy, which means it’s time to make jam!

Next, add some cardamom and vanilla bean pods to the macerated plum mixture for flavoring, but they’re optional for the jam making process. Then cook everything down until it’s thick and glossy.  At this point, you’ll want to let the jam cool to room temperature (it will thicken up a little bit more as it cools). Then you can transfer it to clean containers for storage in either your refrigerator or freezer.

For this recipe we don’t have to add pectin, a thickener used in making jams. That’s because plums have naturally high levels of pectins. No additional pectin is required, which makes plum jam a good start if you’re learning how to make jam.

When it’s all done, this plum jam is perfect on a toasted Wolferman’s English Muffin. I also like to swirl some into my Greek yogurt. You can add it to a cheeseboard; the plum goes particularly well with sharp cheddar and goat cheese. And, if you’re grilling chicken or pork, trying mixing some of the jam with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and black pepper and using this to baste the meat during grilling. I promise you won’t run out of ways to use this easy jam!

Plum Jam with Cardamom and Vanilla

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Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes


  • 4 lbs Harry & David Plums
  • 1 ½ – 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 12 cardamom pods
  • 1 vanilla bean pod


  • Wash the plums.
  • Slice them in half and remove and discard the pits and any stems.
  • Then chop the plums into 1-inch pieces and place them in large, non-reactive bowl (i.e. glass or plastic).
  • Stir in the sugar.
  • Then cover and refrigerate the plum mixture for 12-24 hours, stirring the mixture once or twice during this time.
  • Transfer the plum mixture (including all the accumulated juices) to a large, heavy bottom saucepan.
  • Cut a 4- to 5-inch square of cheesecloth.
  • Using the back of a spoon or the side of a knife, crush the cardamom pods to expose the seeds inside. Then place the crush pods/seeds in the center of the cheesecloth.
  • Using a small paring knife, slice the vanilla bean in half lengthwise. Scrap out the seeds and add them to the saucepan with the plum mixture.
  • Then chop the spent vanilla bean pod into smaller pieces and add it to the cheesecloth with the cardamom.
  • Gather up the corners of the cheesecloth to create a pouch. Then securely tie it off with a piece of kitchen string/twine. Add the pouch to the plum mixture.
  • Place the saucepan over medium-high heat and bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring occasionally.
  • As the mixture thickens, you’ll need to reduce the heat and stir more frequently to prevent the bottom from scorching.
  • As you stir, use your spoon to mash some of the larger plum pieces up against the side of the saucepan to help break them down.
  • Cook jam until it’s thick and glossy, about 75-90 minutes. Then remove the saucepan from the heat and set it aside to cool.
  • The jam will thicken slightly more as it cools. Remove and discard the cheesecloth pouch.
  • Once cooled, transfer the jam into clean re-sealable containers and store in your refrigerator for 2-4 weeks, or in your freezer for several months.
Author: Elizabeth Harris
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