Small Batch Spiced Plum Jam

published Aug 6, 2019
Small Batch Spiced Plum Jam

This recipe uses a smart, easy technique for making a small batch of fruit jam.

Makes2 to 3 cups

Prep15 minutes to 20 minutes

Cook20 minutes to 25 minutes

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Credit: Peter Colin Murray/Kitchn

There are several benefits to making a small batch of jam. The fruit doesn’t take nearly as long to prep (you only need 1 1/2 pounds), and you can do the work in two stages: let the fruit and sugar macerate up to 48 hours before you make the jam. The cook time itself is shorter, too, especially if you cook the jam in a low skillet or frying pan.

This recipe for spiced plum jam follows my go-to formula for small batch jam: 1 1/2 pounds fruit (in this case, plums), 12 ounces of sugar or honey (I like to use sugar, here), and 1 tablespoon lemon juice. For this jam, I’m also adding cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves, which add flavor and interest.

Small Batch Spiced Plum Jam

This recipe uses a smart, easy technique for making a small batch of fruit jam.

Prep time 15 minutes to 20 minutes

Cook time 20 minutes to 25 minutes

Makes 2 to 3 cups

Nutritional Info


  • 1 1/2 pounds


  • 1 1/2 cups

    granulated sugar

  • 1 teaspoon

    ground cinnamon

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    freshly ground nutmeg

  • 1/8 teaspoon

    ground cloves


  1. To make shelf-stable jam (skip this step for quick refrigerator jam): Arrange 3 half-pint jars in a small canning pot or a stock pot fitted with a round cake cooling rack. Fill the pot with enough water to cover the jars. Place a lid on the pot and bring it to a boil. Wash the lids and rings in warm, soapy water and set aside.

  2. Wash, pit, and chop the plums. Place the plums and sugar in a large, non-reactive pot. Stir until the fruit begins to release its juice. Bring to a boil over high heat. Boil for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring regularly to ensure that it does not burn.

  3. Add cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves and stir to combine. The jam is ready when you can pull a spatula through and the space you cleared stays open for a few beats longer than it previously had.

  4. When you are happy with the consistency of the jam, remove the pot from the heat. Ladle it into the prepared jars. At this point, you can refrigerate or freeze the jam; it will last for up to 3 weeks. If you want to make shelf-stable jam, wipe the rims, apply the lids and rings, and lower the filled jars into the canning pot and make sure that they are covered with only about an inch of water. If you need to remove some water from the pot, use a heatproof measuring cup. Once the pot has returned to a rolling boil, start your timer for 10 minutes. This proces sterilizes the jars and contents, and it forces the air out of the jars, creating a situation in which the jars will form a vacuum seal once out of the water.

  5. When 10 minutes is up, pull the pot off the heat and remove the lid. Let the jars cool slowly in the pot for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove jars from the water bath and place them back on the towel-lined countertop to cool. The lids should begin to seal soon after they’ve been removed from the pot. Once the jars have cooled to room temperature, check the seals by removing the rings, grasping the jar by the edge of the lid and gently lifting it an inch or two off the countertop. If the lid holds fast, the seal is good. If your seals are good, you can store your jars in a cool, dark place (with rings off). Did a jar not seal? No problem: It can be refrigerated and used within a few weeks.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Unopened jam can be stored in a cool, dark place for up to a few months. Opened jam can be refrigerated for a week or two.

Weeknight Preserving is your beginner’s guide to preserving the best of the season even if you have a small kitchen or a couple hours on a weeknight. We asked Marisa McClellan of Food in Jars for a true beginner’s guide to preserving, from pickles to jams to freezing to fermenting. You (yes you!) can make a pickle or a jam to be proud of this summer. Share your preserving triumphs with us by tagging #thekitchn on Instagram.

Wondering what to do with the pickles you’ve made? Check out Marisa’s latest book, The Food in Jars Kitchen. It contains over 100 recipes to help you cook, bake, transform, and share your homemade preserves!

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