I’m Plum Crazy + a recipe for Plum-Vanilla Bean Jam

I came back from a visit to my parents 20 pounds heavier. Fortunately, 15 of those pounds came in the form of these beloved Santa Rosa Plums. (The other 5…. well, those have something to do with crispy pork skin and dim sum. We’ll leave it at that.) My parents have a tree  that is seriously dripping with fruit. The branches hang heavy and I am more than happy to relieve them of their burden. Just for this reason, I arrived with an empty suitcase.

Explorations in (yummy) plummy life cycles.

I was raking up fallen plums when I got distracted by the interesting transition from plum to prune. Smooth, firm, and downright sour to wrinkly and hard.  Making plum + vanilla bean preserves (feeling fancy in my @hedleyandbennett apron)

Here I am prepping the plums for jam in my lovely Hedley + Bennet apron, which I’m loving by the way. I’ve made jams with and without the skins, but I prefer the tart tang of with skins. (Also, I’m lazy and a quick blend in the Vitamix obliterates any unwanted texture from the peels.)

15+ lbs of fresh plums transformed into dehydrated plums, paletas, preserves, and sorbet. I'll do anything to have stone fruit season last just a little bit longer.

With over 15 pounds of plums, I had to get creative before they all turned into turned into fruit fly bait. You know what I’m talking about. Those pesky buggers. I ate a ton, dehydrated a few trays, made plum-coconut paletas, two pints of plum-vanilla bean jam, and roasted plum sorbet. I will do anything to be able to enjoy stone fruits well into the fall.

Life would be so incomplete without biscuits. I was straight, Pillsbury, pop the roll open type of gal, but now I’m hooked on this Joy of Baking recipe. It’s a good one. The addition of the egg makes all the difference as does White Lily flour. I smother my biscuits with jam, butter and honey love and you should too. Here’s a recipe to give you an excuse (you’re welcome):

Plum-Vanilla Bean Jam


5 lbs Santa Rosa plums, deseeded

2-3 cups sugar (depending on the sweetness of your fruit)

2 vanilla beans, scraped

1 orange, zest (this is your pectin) and juice


Bring all the ingredients to a boil in a pan that is shallow and wide. Turn the heat down to low and simmer, uncovered, for about 40 to 50 minutes or until the mixture has thickened up and passes the gel test. Puree or leave chunky. Store in the fridge for up to two weeks.


  • Roberta

    21 Sep 2013 07:09 am

    Hi Julie

    I am making plum jam myself these days, bautiful photos keep it going!

  • Greg

    12 Jul 2015 02:07 am

    I have made a lot of different plum combinations but never thought of vanilla good idea.This has given many new ideas.Thank you. GREG


Leave a Comment

Posting your comment…

* Required fields