|First pick your plums
|You might find a ladder useful - our special tripod one is brilliant.
5lbs damson or plum flesh
1/2 pint water
knob of butter
Wash and stone the fruit. Put 1/2 pint of water and fruit into a jam pan or other large heavy-based saucepan.
Bring to the boil and simmer until the fruit breaks up and makes lots of liquid (takes about 1/2 an hour as long as you keep the pot out of the wind!). Don't worry if there are a few lumps left. If you don't have much time or hand problems, it's ok to just boil up the whole fruit, though you will need to skim off the stones when you've made the jam.
|A really long-handled spoon helps keep fingers away from boiling jam.
Add the sugar and a knob of butter - this helps stop a build up of foam on top of the jam. Stir until you can't feel the sugar on the bottom any more, then taste it, because the fruit can vary a lot in acidity depending on how ripe it is. You can add another pound of sugar if necessary. Now bring it back to the boil and boil hard for about 10-15 minutes.
|Lisa and our visitors wait for the jam to finish boiling
|Ladling the jam into jars. A jam funnel helps reduce spills.
|Now enjoy your jam!
NB - If your saucepan is smaller than a jam pan, make sure you don't overload it, or the jam may boil over. The pan shouldn't really be more than 2/3rds full once the fruit and sugar are added. Boiling jam can cause severe burns and should be handled with care.
|Picking plums at twilight with Killisick group
We think our jam may have done the fewest food miles of any, as we're cooking it on site and using UK sugar, most of which is grown within 100 miles of Nottingham!
Eventually, we intend to use rocket stoves made from re-used cans for cooking. These will be great because we'll be able to use our own wood which we've coppiced from our willow trees. However, creating the stoves is still on the to-do list, so we are using a camping stove. We're still aiming to do this in a more environmentally-friendly way, so we've been experimenting with reduced water in the jam recipe (which reduces the cooking time) and building heat-retaining structures around the stove to reduce heat loss and speed up the process, as the jam needs to reach a specific temperature before it sets.