By Claire Davies

Fragrant plum and star anise jam

WHEN I was a small child my family moved to a house that came with its very own Victoria plum tree, the start of the season always reminds me of the joy taken from pulling warm fruit straight from the tree.

Late summer is the perfect time to bring out the jam pan and turn the abundance of fruit into a treat you can enjoy all year round. Preserving is also a great way of stocking up on welcome gifts for food-loving friends. If jam isn’t quite your thing plums work brilliantly in chutney with a dose of sweet chilli, or turn them into sweet and piquant plum ketchup.


Eight clean, sterilised jam jars.

1kg of firm British plums

850g of caster sugar

120 ml of lemon juice

1-2 star anise

1 tsp of ground ginger


Preheat your oven at the lowest temperature possible. Put the clean, sterilised jars on to a roasting tray and place them in the oven until ready to fill. Put a saucer in the fridge to chill.

Remove the stones from the plums and cut the fruit into quarters.

Put the plums, sugar and lemon juice into a heavy-based saucepan with around 100ml of water, the star anise and ground ginger.

Slowly bring everything to a boil, stirring until all of the sugar has dissolved. Reduce the heat and simmer for 35–40 minutes, stirring regularly to prevent the sugar from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Test the set of your jam by dropping a teaspoonful on to the cold saucer. Leave to cool slightly before running your finger through the jam to see if it is set.

Use a metal spoon to remove any froth from the surface of the jam and take out the star anise. Pour the jam into the warmed sterilised jars and seal immediately.

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