I decided to make plum-cherry jam this week, since I knew several markets had plums on sale.
I needed to get pectin, too, and I decided to buy the fruit where pectin was sold, so I wouldn't be schlepping ripe fruit around in a hot car.
First stop was Whole Foods. No pectin.
Next stop was a very large Safeway with a great selection of stone fruits. No one even knew what pectin is.
So I went to Harris Teeter and found the pectin and a selection of both plums and pluots. I wanted red fleshed fruit, and a clerk was good enough to cut open some of the pluots to help me find the right variety. I settled on the one labeled "Family Tree Farms #4611" and bought a bag of dark sweet cherries and a couple of lemons as well.
After all the running around, I arrived home too late to make the jam that day. The next morning I was up bright and early. I used the recipe on page 91 in Linda J. Amendt's "175 Best Jams, Jellies, Marmalades." Her recipe calls for blanching and peeling the plums and then adding pectin. I'd always been told that plum skins contain pectin and add color to the jam, but she argued that the skin can spoil the flavor and texture. With some misgiving, I followed the recipe almost to the T--except that I added a few drops of Silver Cloud Estates' wonderful almond extract to point up the cherry flavor. To my amazement, the pluots had a distinct raspberry fragrance that sang through in the finished jam. I think next week I will make up a batch of straight pluot jam (without the cherries).
Fortunately, I bought a more fruit than I needed for jam, and the pluots proved to be delicious for eating fresh. If you're mildly dyslexic, like me, you might be put off by the name--I thought the sign said "Pluto" when I first read it. But for flavor and texture, it is a real winner.
It's a trade off. Plum skins do add color to the jam and do contain a lot of pectin. But varieties of plum have skins that are extremely bitter and since the skins separate from the fruit during cooking, biting down on a bundle of bitter skin in the finished product may not be the flavor you're looking for. You can solve this problem by sieving or milling the skins out after cooking the jam. Since you were using added pectin in the recipe the only real purpose the skins would have had was to add color.
Don't know how experienced you are with canning and whether you prefer to use pectin or not, but I've become a real fan of the no/low sugar pectin because it allows me to use just enough sweetener of my choice (sugar, honey, whatever) to enhance but not overpower the fruit without the worries of will I have a good enough set. My stuff tastes like fruit now and not like candy.
Yeah, I tasted the bitterness in the pluot skin when I ate it out of hand. The flesh had plenty of color, so I didn't need the skin for that--though it would have upped the antioxidants. A friend on the west coast tried the low sugar pectin and told me she loves it. So I will get some (after I use up the other pack of liquid pectin I have!). I'm not very experienced with jam and jelly making. I made jam once about forty years ago when I found some marvelous small plums on a back road in Espanola New Mexico. They looked like Marabelle's and had a spicy overtone. And I've made marmalade a few times in recent years. But jam and jelly are new to me. So I appreciate your input.
I was also thrown by the name when I first saw it 8 years ago - it didn't strike me as particularly appetizing!
Pluots and apriums are both interesting in that their sugar content is much higher than that of either parent. They both seem to stay fresh longer too. There seems to be a wider range of pluots available, with flesh ranging from red to white. The varieties differ in the ratio of plum/apricot parentage. So far I've only been able to try a few varieties, but they have been quite good.
Looking forward to your jam reports!