Reine Claude (Green Gage Plum) and vanilla jam

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So, what do you do when you find a big box of the fabulous Green Gage Plums at the farmers market?  Make jam, of course!  Green Gage plums are called Reine Claude in French.  These particular ones, with greenish-yellow skin and occasional red blush, are called Reine Claude Crottée I believe.  No matter the name, Reine Claudes are particular great for jams and preserves.  In the raw state, they are fragrant, sweet and so juicy as to be almost watery.  When cooked down into compote or jam, the liquid concentrates and the flavor intensifies.  There's also a good amount of acidity to balance the sweetness and plenty natural pectin in the skin so there's no need to add any more.

Img_3884I first bought about three pounds of these gorgeous fruit from Patrick at Thomas farm.  Took them home, and made a quick batch of compote with a couple of vanilla beans, which is a recipe more or less cribbed from Christine Ferber's Mes Confitures book.  They turned out so amazingly delicious that I ran back to the market just before it's closed and bought ten more pounds.  Yeah.  Ten.  I went plum mad.

The first batch I made was so simple.  Just the plums, sugar, a vanilla
pod or two and a little lemon juice.  The plan is to make a yummy jam
to be the filler for my pop tarts.  Even if you've never made jam before, or just the mere mention of
preserving and canning is enough to send you to hide behind the sofa,
you really should try it.  If you find the whole preserving business
too daunting, just make a small batch of jam and keep it in the
fridge.  It's really easy to do and you can have the flavor and
consistency just the way you like it.

Green Gage plum and vanilla Jam

2lb (about 1kg) Green Gage Plums
1lb (about 500g) sugar
juice from 1 lemon
2 vanilla beans

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Cut the plums into big chunks into a large, non-reactive pot (like a Le Creuset), discard the pits.  Add the sugar and the lemon juice.  Stir well to combine.  Cut a round piece of parchment paper the size of the diameter of the pot, and place it on top of the fruits.  Let sit for about an hour.

Cut two vanilla beans lengthwise, scrape the inside of the pods to get to all the seeds.  Scrape the pods and all the seeds into the pot with the fruits.  Place the pot over the stove and bring to a boil over medium heat.  Gently stir to make sure all the sugar is melted.  Bring the heat down to a simmer, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until it reduces at least by half or until it reaches the thickness you like.

These plums have so much pectin in the skin that you don't need to add any extra to get it to gel.   To test to see if the jam is ready, take a small amount of jam on the tip of a spoon, and drop it on a small plate and spread it a little.  If the jam is ready, it should gel up nicely when it cools down.  If it's still a little runny, you might want to continue cooking for just a bit longer. 

It really is that simple.  If you're like me, you can just put the jam in a large jar and put it in the fridge (discard the vanilla pods first, by the way).  It will be eaten up soon enough.  If you want to keep it longer, then get a bunch of little jam jars and follow the manufacturer's instructions on how to fill and seal the jars so that they are shelf-stable. 

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  • http://acookinglife.typepad.com/ GG Mora

    Reine-Claudes are also lovely with lemon verbena.

  • http://seraobenedyto.blogspot.com Carol

    Hi, I just come here to say hello!! Big kissess!!

  • huebscher

    your posts on summer fruits make me constantly homesick! …quit it!!!
    no wait, please dont—just ship a jar out to texas.

  • http://fledglingfood.blogspot.com johanna

    hi pim – thanks for this recipe. i’m going to try it with shiro plums which look like greengages as they are also neon green!

  • Linda

    I have been thinking about the wonderful green gage plum homemade ice cream I ate as a child at the local rooming house. The owner cooked a Sunday dinner to die for and at the end was her own plum ice cream. I cannot find the plums here, but yearn for that ice cream. If you are lucky enough to find them, make ice cream out of them and you will be in heaven.

  • http://cyclingcook.blogspot.com/ Sam

    I love greengages, they are my absolute favourite fruit! Your jam looks fantastic too, I like the idea of adding vanilla.

  • http://www.theguerrillagourmet.com Schaefer

    Beautiful jam, and a very useful recipe. I didn’t have any vanilla beans, but the jam was still lovely.

  • http://www.salo.bz/karen Karen Salo

    I made this today and it turned out really nice. Thanks so much for posting the recipe.

  • Twila Rudderham

    twila is asking if you can use splenda?

  • Dana in Northern Utah

    I’ll be making jam tomorrow with the plums from our gorgeous tree in the backyard of our rented house. The vanilla sounds like a lovely addition; I’m very much looking forward to the end product. Thank you for posting this recipe!

  • Plum trees gave fruit this year

    Do you think Pure vanilla extract would work? Alas vanilla beans I have none:(
    Has anyone ever added orange zest or orange flavoring to plum jam?
    Plums are ready to use or eat and I need a recipe for preserving them:)
    Thanks!

  • sookevista

    This looks like a fabulous recipe. I’ve never known what to do with these sour little plums. I think adding alcohol (vanilla extract) will interfere with the jamming process. What happened with the orange zest?

  • Debbie

    Giving it a go! 

  • Debbie

    Turned out great! Taught me a lesson on non pectin jams. Marmalade next. Really tart but good flavor. Did vanilla extract, didn’t seem to matter. Thanks.

  • Donna

    This is a fabulous tasting jam thanks for sharing recipe. Due high price vanilla pods used vanilla extract after reading your comment Debbie, worked a treat hanks! My jam was a little runny so added peeled, halved apple to pot, a website suggested doing this to release natural pectin into the pot. Passing another hint back. Had to strip our plum tree all fruit before birds got them so I’ll be back at th stove his week with this recipe in hand.

  • NHmom

    BEST and easiest I have ever made

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