Going In the Kitchen With Miss Amy for our Summer 2014 Issue was easy-peasy. Amy Acierno, proprietress of Miss Amy’s Preserves, was engaging and forthcoming when it came to speaking about her 16-year-old artisanal jam business. Without hesitation, she shared her recipe for her favorite, Long Island Beach Plum Jam. When pressed about where she forages for the elusive stone fruit, not so much.
Miss Amy’s Beach Plum Jam
Recipe by Amy Acierno
2 large 10- to 12-quart stockpots
8 to 12 8-ounce canning jars or 12 to 16 4-ounce jars (yield will depend on how much sugar you add)
Small ceramic plate
Food processor or potato masher
Large tray for placing canning jars
Clean dry cloth
5 pounds of well-cleaned and thoroughly pitted beach plums, rinsed and well drained
8 ounces lemon juice (I prefer bottled because it’s guaranteed 5% acidity)
½ to 1 cup organic pectin
2 to 3½ pounds organic sugar (to your taste and desired set)
Place one large canning pot on the stove and bring to a rolling boil. Add canning jars and boil for 10 to 15 minutes. Turn off heat. Keep jars in water until ready to can. Place a small ceramic plate in the freezer. Place beach plums in a food processor and pulse until a thick mash emerges. This is also a good time to check for any more pits! Or mash until a thick pulp is achieved. Pour mash into a 10- to 12-quart large flat-bottomed pot and place over low-medium heat. Add lemon juice and pectin. Stir well to combine. Bring plums to a rolling simmer, stirring frequently. Slowly add sugar in a steady stream, stirring all the while. Give it a taste here and there to check tart/sweet level. Adjust to your liking. I prefer a tarter version.
Bring plums back to a rolling simmer and cook for about 5 minutes, again stirring frequently to prevent any sticking or burning. Watch for any pits that you may have missed to rise to the surface and remove. Believe me, you don’t want to bite onto a beach plum pit. They have broken many a tooth and bridge! Do be careful! Remove plate from freezer and drizzle a small drop of jam onto plate. Place back in freezer for a minute. Remove and push the drop with your finger to check set. Depending on how much pectin and sugar you’ve added, the drop will respond in kind. A lot of sugar and pectin and the drop will wrinkle when pushed. A little sugar and pectin and it might only be slightly firm. It really is up to your taste buds to decide how you like it!
Bring a small saucepan to a light simmer and add lids. I have found that adding them in a circular pattern helps to prevent them from getting stuck together. Remove jars from hot water and place on tray. Place jam pot next to tray and, using funnel, fill jars to ¼ to ½ inch of the rim. Cap immediately. Wipe rims with a clean wet cloth and seal. Invert for 5 minutes. Then stand back upright and allow to cool for 24 hours. Check the seal by pushing down on the center of the cap. If it pops, place jar in the fridge. If it doesn’t pop, jar is sealed and can be stored in a cool, dry dark spot for up to one year.