« Peach Arugula Salad

Rosh Hashanah Dinner »

Vanilla Plum Jam

vanilla plum jam

As fall approaches, my attention is shifting to our fruit trees. A few years back we planted a peach and two apple trees along the perimeter of our packed yard; they are now bursting with fruit, as is our dwarf plum. While we eat the peaches and apples straight off the trees, each fall we make a habit of picking the tart little plums and making our own homemade jam from them.

During this last weekend, the boys commenced with our plum harvest.  First, they went out to the yard and shook the fruit down from the tree.  Then they collected the plums in a large (unbreakable) metal bowl.  Next, we gathered in the kitchen and made this tangy fruit spread.

Vanilla Plum Jam


  1. In a large covered saucepan, bring plums, agave and vanilla bean to a boil
  2. Lower heat, uncover pot and simmer 15 minutes, until plums are dissolved (though skins will remain)
  3. Cook 10 more minutes to reduce mixture, then stir in stevia
  4. Remove vanilla bean, place plum mixture in vitamix and puree on highest setting
  5. Transfer mixture back to pot and reheat on stove
  6. In a small bowl, combine arrowroot powder and 1 tablespoon water to make a slurry
  7. Bring plum mixture to a boil, then add arrowroot slurry, stirring continuously, until incorporated
  8. Remove from heat, cool and transfer to mason jars
  9. Store in refrigerator for up to one week

Feel free to play with the amount of agave and stevia called for in this recipe.  I used a lot of each sweetener because our plums are small and quite sour.  If you don’t have stevia, just use agave.  If you don’t have either, experiment with your own choice of sweetener.

I use arrowroot in this recipe (and many others) as a thickener, I’m not quite sure what would make a good substitute if you don’t have that on hand.  One solution might be to reduce the jam down to your desired thickness, cooking out most of the liquid. If you do find that something else works in place of arrowroot, please leave a comment and let us know.  In terms of using another fruit in place of plums, I imagine that might work –again, if you experiment with this, please share your results.

This thick gluten free, naturally sweetened, no sugar plum jam is delicious on pancakes, toast or warmed up over a big bowl of vanilla ice cream.

Tomorrow evening, September 17th at 5pm, I will be speaking at Pharmaca on Pearl Street in Boulder with Margaret Romero CNP, of Helios Health Center.  She will be discussing alternative treatment methods for recalcitrant celiac disease and I will talk about the social aspects of dealing with this diagnosis.

posted on September 16, 2008, 20 comments

  1. Kristen @ dineanddish.net

    What a delicious recipe! I love fresh produce from your very own yard. You can’t beat it!

  2. pie

    looks yummy. i just wonder what you did with the plum skins. my jam always has those and it’s frustrating.

  3. Melissa

    We used tapioca flour as a substitute thickener in your peach crisp recipe and it turned out wonderful. I bet tapioca flour could be used in the same manner for your vanilla plum jam recipe.

  4. Thank you! I love this website just diagnosed a few weeks ago, I am having fun cooking healthy and feeling GREAT! I have been craving jam but dont want the surgar so I am so greatful, staying away from anyting processed just eating whole foods, so I really like your site. What a joy you are.

  5. Freedom

    fruit pectin is an all natural jam thickener that comes from apples I believe. I know for sure that it comes from fruit and is not an artificial product. It even comes in a handy gel packet now, that you just squeeze into your jam, instead of measuring out the pectin powder.

  6. I have used kudzu instead of arrowroot for your chocolate pudding and it was great. Thanks for this website and all the great recipes.

  7. Mariella

    Elana, i’ve made jams before…in an other country, an other life it seems…and i’ve never used a thickener. Plums do have pectin though under-ripe plums have more. The best source of pectin is lemon juice so for insurance (not the AIG type) you could try adding the juice of one lemon if you’d like to try it without the arrowroot. At any rate it sounds decadent….I adore plums and it takes me back to stirring a potful of blissfully sticky plum jam with my mum so many years ago…i’ll try this with my kids.


  8. Kristen -Thanks, I do too.

    pie -Please see the recipe above, which notes that I puree the skins into the jam.

    Melissa -That is such a great idea, thanks for sharing.

    Rhonda -Thanks so much for your sweet and joyful comment!

    Freedom -Great idea, thanks for sharing.

    Hannah -Yes, I use kudzu and arrowroot interchangeably, I think they are different forms of the same thing.

    Mariella – I love the idea of using lemon juice; so natural!

  9. Kitchen Goddess

    As soon as I get some plums in my organic fruit box I’ll give this a whirl, sounds wonderful.

  10. Kitchen Goddess – It was delicious, let me know how it turns out for you when you make it :-)

  11. Crystal

    I used honey (1/4 cup for 2 cups of plums) and no additional sweetener. But, my plums were very ripe. I also didn’t have a vanilla bean, so I just added organic gluten free vanilla at the end. Turned out great.

  12. Jessica

    Can you freeze this jam? I’m making such a big batch, I don’t think I’ll be able to eat it in a week’s time.

  13. Georgia

    Hi Elana,
    I just whipped this jam up. I found that letting it reduce a little longer, it was thickened by the time I was done pureeing it. I have to admit, this almost didn’t make it into jars, it was SO good right out of the blender, lol.
    Thank you for making jam possible for me again!

  14. charles

    Hi Elana,
    I use agar agar as a thickener. Make sure it’s totally dissolved in a small quantity of boiling water before adding.
    Best wishes.

  15. gedupdaps @ call-girl.su

    ???????? ??? ???? http://call-girl.su/ – ????? ?????, ??????? ?? ?????, ??????? ?? ??????, ??????????? ?????? ? ?????? ??????.

  16. Theresa

    Do U have some other jam or jelly recipes? How about freezer jam recipes?

  17. Jamie

    I believe you could use Chia seeds to help it thicken but I will just boil it down to my thickness desired. Thank you for helping me make jams for my children to enjoy

  18. Julie

    Hi there, could you use any fruit with this recipe please? Love your posts emailed to be in Christchurch New Zealand. Also just ordered a coupe of your books from Amazon! Jules

Sorry, but comments are temporarily disabled for maintenance.

I'll update everyone shortly, but until then feel free to reach out on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter!
Comments are greatly appreciated! Unfortunately Elana is not able to answer substitution questions, as the only way to know if something works is to test it, and she does not provide this service. If you have a substitution question, please don't hesitate to leave a comment here, and another reader may jump in to answer. ↑ back to top