Method

At the end of August, gather still unripe Hungarian plums—that is, plums that will still be good in winter. Prick them in several places with a needle and toss them into cold water. Change the water and place the pan of plums on top of the stove. As soon as the water begins to boil and the plums float to the top, immediately remove the preserving pan from the fire. After the plums settle to the bottom, replace the pan on the fire. When the plums again begin to float, remove the pan from the fire and carefully turn the plums into a fine sieve. Good jam depends on following these instructions exactly. When the water drains away, pack the plums into a jar. For every 1 lb of plums use 2 lbs sugar and 2 glasses water. Begin by using 2 glasses water and 1 lb sugar and bring the syrup to a boil. Let it cool and pour it over the plums. After 24 hours, pour off the syrup, add another ½ lb sugar, bring to a boil, let cool, and pour over the plums again. On the third day, add the remaining ½ lb sugar. When the syrup comes to a boil, add the plums and bring the mixture to a boil 2–3 times. Finish cooking over a low fire, watching that the plums do not overcook.

These plums can be prepared another way: Peel the plums and toss them immediately into cold water, bring a syrup to a boil, drop in the plums, and cook until half done. Pour the plums into a glazed bowl and cover. The next day, pour off the syrup, bring it to a boil, add the plums, and cook over a low fire until done. Pack the plums into a jar. If the syrup is too thin, cook it a little longer, let it cool, and pour it over the plums. The plums may be cooked with a piece of vanilla bean, 1 vershok long.

Or take the very best plums, but neither fully ripe nor soft. For every lb of plums use 1 or 1½ lb sugar. Peel the plums, place them on a platter, sprinkle on ½ lb finely pounded and sieved sugar, and set them in an oven that is barely warm. When the plums release their juice, pour it off, [reserve the juice,] sprinkle the plums with another ¼ lb sugar, and leave them in the oven overnight. The next day, again pour off the juice from the platter, mix it with the first batch of juice, and pour into a preserving pan. Sprinkle with the remaining sugar, bring to a boil, add the plums, and cook over a low fire until done. Pour into a glazed dish, cool, and pack into a jar. To produce more juice, add to the platter several completely ripe plums, which may be discarded later.

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