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It's that time of year again when tons of delicious fruit is coming into season and the trees in our region are ripe for the picking. Thank you to Heather Patrone, founder of "The Rainbow Revival" (Read more below) for inviting us to come over to her beautiful villa to pick the plump yellow fruits of her lovely Mirabelle tree overhanging her driveway. We had such a lovely time picking the fruit and laughed so hard as we chased after the ones that fell and rolled down the steep decline of the driveway.
You can also find supermarket shelves stocked up with cherries, apricots, raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries. Empty jam jars, labels, and special jam sugar, with extra pectin, making it almost impossible to get the setting process wrong, sit on shelves strategically placed nearby.
Jam making is not nearly as complicated and some believe it to be. In reality, jam making is actually quite simple, and freshly made jams are so much better than the supermarket shelf choices. It is such a lovely feeling of accomplishment to spread your own homemade jam onto a baguette fresh from the boulangerie for breakfast.
I love getting the children involved in cooking and baking. There are just so many educational opportunities for learning. Making jam can teach them about how fruit can be made to last longer than fresh fruit through preservation using sugar. In Maths they can learn about quantities and volumes. Getting them to write the labels, can improve handwriting skills and cutting fruit, pouring sugar and, removing the stones/pits can improve and strengthen motor skills.
I know what you are thinking! ... there is boiling sugary fruit involved which is not very child-friendly! But, these steps must be reserved for the parents to do. And while you are sterilizing the jars in the oven and boiling the fruit and pouring the hot jam into hot jars the children can be decorating labels for the jars.
MAKING THE MIRABELLE PLUM JAM
Step 1. Sterilization. Put glass jam jars and their lids in the oven at 100*C for 30 minutes.
(Parents to do step 1)
(Parents to do step 3)
Step 4. Set aside some cooked plums for your crumble. Weigh the sugar and add to Mirabelles
(We collected so many plums that we decided to make a Mirabelle Plum Crumble as well!)
Step 5. Boil until the jam starts to set. Test by doing the wrinkle test.
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The "Wrinkle Test"
Before cooking the jam put 3 or 4 small little saucers in the freezer. Once your jam has boiled for several minutes, take the pan off the heat and carefully spoon a little jam onto one of the cold plates. Let it stand for a minute then push the blob of jam with your finger, if the surface of the jam wrinkles then it has set, if it is still quite liquid then put the pan back on the heat and boil the jam for another 3 to 5 minutes before testing again.
(I made sure the jam was cool enough before letting Freyabella do the wrinkle test)
Step 6. Pour into hot jars and screw the lids on firmly
(Parents to do step 6)
Step 7. Leave to cool until the lids pop which means they are sealed airtight.
For the full recipe with quantities, download my free Mirabelle Plum Jam recipe printable below.
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MAKING THE PLUM CRUMBLE
I love making crumble and experiment all the time with different dry ingredients to give it a luxury feel. My favorite is to add crumbled ginger biscuits into the mixture.
Step 1. Take the stewed plums that you kept aside in Step 4 of the jam-making process. Add sugar to taste.
Step 2. Place them in a ceramic baking dish.
Step 3: Take flour and grated butter and use your hands to rub the flour into the grated butter before stirring in the oats, crushed biscuits and/or crunchy muesli cereal. It should be a crumbly consistency. Sprinkle generously over the stewed plums. Top with a sprinkling of sugar.
Step 4: Bake in an oven on 200°C for 30 minutes or until the crumble is golden brown and the sprinkled sugar has caramelized.
(Parents to do step 4)
For the full recipe with quantities, download my free Mirabelle Plum Crumble recipe printable below.
The Rainbow Revival is a newly launched eco-friendly sustainable accessories company located on the French Riviera. The Founder Heather Patrone recycles old inflatable pool toys to make really beautiful, colorful and fun beach bags, makeup bags, pencil cases, and other fabulous accessories. Her idea came to her at the end of the summer of 2019 when she noticed just how many of these plastics were destined for landfill. If you would like to get in touch with Heather, to purchase one of her stunning bags here is her business listing. Or perhaps you would like to donate some old inflatable pool toys? For now, she has 2 collection points:
- Valbonne, at Brittain’s Home Stores, 1913 Route de Cannes.
- Antibes, at Aquarêve, 2567 Chemin de Saint-Claude.
5% of all proceeds from Heather's bags go to Sea Shepard a marine conservation charity.