Canning, Recipes

Shiro Plum Jam – a.k.a. Sour Patch Kids Jam

Have you ever heard of a Shiro Plum? Me either. Not until I stumbled upon them at my local farmers market this weekend. I love buying fruits and veggies to can at the farmers market and went last Sunday morning to pick up peaches for a batch of peach  butter (yum). I noticed these bright yellow plums with an irresistible price tag: $1/pint. I had no idea what they were or what I would make, but I took five pints home with me.

Shiro PlumsEver

After I bought them, I heard the man at the farmstand tell another customer that the Shiro Plums are sour — I was nervous, but excited to try to make something delicious with them.

After finishing up a batch of pasta sauce and a batch of peach butter (yes, I was a canning overachiever last weekend), I started working on the Shiro Plum jam. I looked up recipes online, but most called for way more plums than I’d purchased and vanilla bean. I don’t stock that in my kitchen, so I scrapped those ideas.

Instead, I looked to my trusty canning book, the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving. If you like canning and you don’t own this book, buy it! No, I do not get money from sharing this book with you — although Ball should pay me to be their spokesperson. I’d rock it.

Anyway, I digress. I found a plum jam recipe and decided to go for it, knowing it wasn’t meant for the Shiro variety. Here is my tweaked version of the Ball plum jam recipe.

  • 5 lbs. of Shiro Plums
  • 50 grams of powdered pectin
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 8 cups of sugar

Five pounds of plums gets you about 5-6 cups of plum pulp. To get the plum pulp, all you need to do is break the skin of the Shiro Plum and squeeze the pulp out. It is super easy, super slimy and super fun. Remove the peels. Remove the pit. No blanching necessary.

When all of your plums are pitted and peeled, I suggest putting your pulp through a food processor. Just pulse it a few times, no need to pulverize it. I suggest doing this because the pulp of the Shiro plum can be a bit stringy — sort of like the stringy pulp of pumpkins.

Then, boil your pulp w/ the half cup of water. When it reaches a boil, turn down the heat and whisk in your pectin. When your pectin has been added back in, add in your 8 cups of sugar. You are probably thinking, “Dear sweet lord, that is diabetes in a pot.” Well, yeah. It is Just don’t eat it all yourself and you’ll be fine. It’s definitely more sugar than a lot of the Ball recipes call for, but I didn’t want to stray especially since the plums are more sour than normal plums.

Cook the jam until it starts to thicken. I learned a trick from my trusty canning book — put a plate in the freezer and let it chill. When you want to test the stage of your jam, place a spoonful on the cold plate, then run your finger through it. If the jam parts like the Red Sea and stays parted — congrats, you are the Moses of jam and it is ready to can! If it closes back up immediately, it need to cook longer before it is ready to set.

Shiro Jam

I canned the jam in 10 8-oz. jars. TEN. That means I paid about $.50 per jar (I’d calculate w/ sugar and pectin added, but I hate math). That’s pretty darn good. Process your jars in your water bath for 10 minutes, then take those bad boys out and they are good to go.

I saved a little of the jam so I could try it without needed to pop open a jar and it is so yummy. SO YUMMY. It tastes like Mother Nature’s version of Sour Patch Kids.

shiro jam2

Ever heard of Shiro Plums? Ever made jam from it? I only saw a recipe or two online using Shiro Plums, so I’m interested to hear if anyone else has discovered these little yellow beauties.

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Canning, Recipes

Mulberry Jam

I saw a tree in our yard with berries on it when I was giving Brian his weekly tour of the garden. (He humors me and I love him for it). I was pretty excited when I noticed the berries — also surprised that I’d never noticed them before! So, even through Brian said they were probably poisonous, I did some research (thanks, Eddie!) and discovered they were mulberries.

Mulberry Tree

You can imagine my delight when I realized that 1. the berries weren’t poisonous and 2. I had even more fruit growing in my yard! I quickly tried one and they were delicious. Mulberries taste similar to blackberries, just a little less sweet and tart.

Mulberry

Over the course of the week I went out and picked the ripe berries (they turn black when they are ripe). When I had enough berries, I started searching for a recipe for jam. I found a recipe that called for berries, sugar and lemon juice (no pectin) from Claire K Creations. I didn’t have quite as many berries as the recipes called for, but was able to tweak the measurements to work.

Mulberries

First, I had to pull off the green stems. That only took half an hour haha. Then, I mashed them down a bit to release some of the berry juices.

Mulberries Cooking

Even though I didn’t have enough berries, I saw that Claire uses equal parts sugar to berries, so I weighed my berries on my food scale and then weighed out the same amount in sugar. Then, I followed Claire’s instructions. First, I brought the berries to a boil. Then, I added the sugar and lemon juice. I let everything come to a boil before reducing the heat and allowing the jam to thicken.

Mulberries boiling

When the jam was finished, I opted to put it in small mason jars, but not to can them. Truth is I ran out of the lids to seal the jars properly. So I popped all of the jam in the fridge to cool and thicken even more.

Mulberry Jam

I used 320 ML of berries and got three small mason jars and one 1-cup tupperware of jam. Not bad for berries I didn’t even know I had growing in my yard!

If you ever get the opportunity to make your own mulberry jam, not only is it super easy, it is also delicious. Make sure you check out Claire K’s Creations for other yummy recipes!

Craft Projects, Jewelry, Quick and Easy Crafts

DIY Poison Ring

{A Smith of All Trades} Poison Ring cover

My friend and I have this ongoing joke that it would be totally badass to have poison rings. Of course, we don’t actually want to poison people, but it would be really cool to mess with people.

What do I mean? Fill a poison ring with cool aid and when you friend isn’t looking add it to their water. It will change colors out of nowhere. Bahaha! April fools is coming up and you could do some fun things with one of these.

Making your own poison ring is pretty easy — buy a stretchy ring, a few lockets and some E6000 from Michaels and you are ready to go.

{A Smith of All Trades} Poison Ring parts

First up, you need to pry the bail off of the locket using a pair of pliers.

{A Smith of All Trades} Poison Ring locket

Once that’s done, place a dollop of E6000 onto the base of the stretchy ring.

{A Smith of All Trades} Poison Ring e6000

Squash the locket on top and set it aside to dry. If your locket moves a bit, you can secure it with a little tape until it dries.

{A Smith of All Trades} Poison Ring glue

All dry — try it on for size!

{A Smith of All Trades} Poison Ring

Bahaha.. let the mischief begin. First up, “poisoning” my hubby’s tea (just to make sure nothing would fall out of the cracks, or course). It was only sugar guys, no worries 🙂

{A Smith of All Trades} Poison Ring 1

Even if you don’t want to use it to prank your friends or simply freak people out, you can fold up little messages and place them in the locket. Or, use the locket as a locket!

{A Smith of All Trades} Poison Ring 2

Doesn’t hurt that the ring is sorta pretty, too. Don’t worry, Ben — your locket is a bit less scrolly and more masculine.