Grandma’s beach plum jelly

Beach plum jelly has a bright, fruity taste and fuchsia color that is totally unique. If you are new to jelly making, my mother-in-law’s foolproof recipe is a good place to start. It is delicious on toast, popovers, and peanut butter sandwiches, and can be incorporated into baked goods like thumbprint cookies. The pretty jars also make perfect hostess gifts.

10 cups beach plums, pitted
2 cups water
6 cups sugar
3 ounces liquid pectin (see cook’s note)

  1. Make beach plum juice. Place beach plums in a large saucepan. Roughly crush with a potato masher, then addwater. Cook uncovered for about 20 minutes or until fruit is soft. Periodically crush and stir with potato masher to keep mixture from sticking.
  2. Transfer mixture through a jelly bag or a sieve lined with cheesecloth. Hang your straining system over a bowl and let liquid drip through overnight (do not squeeze no matter how tempted you are, as your jelly will turn out cloudy). By morning, you should have 3 1/2 cups beach plum juice.
  3. Prepare jars. Place six 8-ounce jars in a large pot, cover with water, and boil for 10 minutes. Place lids and rings in a separate pot, boil, then turn heat to low to keep warm.
  4. In a large saucepan, combine beach plum juice, sugar, and pectin. Bring mixture to a boil over high heat and boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove pot from heat and use a wooden spoon to skim off any foam. Pour jelly mixture into prepared jars. Close tops and let stand until set. Jar lids will pop when sealed.

Makes 6 8-ounce jars.

cook’s note: This amount of pectin is a good general measure. If your beach plums are less ripe (more red than purple) then you may need a bit less pectin. If your beach plums are very ripe (more purple than red) you may need a bit more pectin.