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Plums, Wild
(Prunus americana)

The United States and Canada are host to several species of wild plums. The most common is the Red Plum (P. americana) and is found growing as a small coarse shrub to a height of 20 feet or more. The size of the fruit depends on the location, but the fruit of wild plums is much smaller than their domesticated cousins, although much more flavorful. Another well-known wild plum is called Beach Plum (P. maritima) which is found along the eastern coastlines, although it is also grown as an ornamental shrub due to the cloud of small white blossoms it puts out each spring. The Wild Goose plum (P. hortulana) is more common to lowland areas, while the Canada Plum (P. nigra) is found in locations of 2000 to 4000 feet.
When ripe the fruit can be harvested and dried. When making preserves, use a ratio of 80% ripe fruit and 20% partially ripened.

Plum Jelly
5 lbs. plums
1 cup water
7 cups sugar
3 oz. liquid pectin

Place plums into a large saucepan or kettle and crush with a potato masher. Do not remove pits or peels. Add water and bring mixture to a boil. Simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Place in a jelly bag and collect the juice. Measure juice (about 5 cups) and add sugar. Bring mixture to a boil. Add pectin and bring to boil again. Hold at hard boil for 1 full minute, stirring constantly. Skim off foam and pour into hot, sterile jelly jars and seal. The plum pulp can be saved and used to make a fruit butter.

Plum Jam
3 pints of plums
4 cups sugar

Wash plums and place in a saucepan. Crush with potato masher. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and pour the sauce through a food mill to remove skins and large seeds.
Place pulp in saucepan and add sugar. Bring to a boil and cook till mixture is thick. Cooking time can be reduced by adding 3 oz. of liquid pectin. When finished, pour into hot, sterile jelly jars and seal.

Plum Preserves
5 lbs. plums
1 cup water
1 cup sugar per cup of fruit
2 oranges suitable for juicing

Wash, then halve plums. Remove pits. Place fruit into a deep saucepan and add water, then sugar. Mix well and bring to a boil, then simmer till sugar syrup thickens.
Chop oranges into very small sections and add to sauce. Bring mixture to a boil, then simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and pour into hot, sterile jars and seal.

©2000 by Ernestina Parziale