My friend Mary brought me a big plastic tub full of plums from her neighbors' tree and they sure are delicious. Even my little Pug ShuMai couldn't resist their heady scent.
I moment I bit into the first plum I realized they were perfect. Freestones, the right amount of ripeness, full of flavor, and no bitter skins. I have so many of them I've decided to use them several ways. The first thing I did today was extract juice to make jelly. I also have plans to make Sugar Plums, Plum~Lemon Verbena Jam, and Plum Cordial.
Since these are freestone-type plums, the pits are easy to remove and they're a real pleasure to cook with. Even so, one thing that can be done to preserve plums without pitting them is to run them through a steam juice extractor.
I didn't weigh the plums, but the top portion holds about 20 pounds, which yielded exactly one gallon of juice after about one hour in my funky vintage steam juice extractor.
I cooked half of the juice with sugar...
...and lemon juice...
...and boiled it like crazy....
...which turned it into jelly.
And saved the rest of the juice for a second batch using added pectin*, so I can compare both batches of Plum Jelly side-by-side.
*To get you started, here's some immensely helpful info about making jams and jellies with or without added pectin, thanks to the University of Missouri Extension.