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Plum Preserves – Spiced and Sweetened with Honey

These plum preserves are lightly sweetened with honey and spiced with cardamon. The flavor is good –  tart and spicy – a bit like a chutney. We use the natural pectin in plums for gelling – no commercial pectin needed. Try it with poultry, stirred into yogurt, or drizzled over ice cream.

plum preserves and plums

Tips for Working with Plum Preserves

Plums are high in natural pectin – especially the skins. If you prefer smooth preserves, keep the skins on, but blend your fruit in a food processor or chop finely.

The Gelling Test

To make sure your plum preserves are thick enough, do a gelling test. There are a couple of different options for this test.

#1. Place a spoonful of jelly on a cold plate, stick it in the fridge for a minute, and then run your finger through it. Jelly that has jelled should hold the shape of the finger trail for a bit, not run right back together.

Apple jelly gel test - How to test if your apple jelly is gelling

#2. Take a tablespoon of alcohol and drop in a tablespoon of the liquid you are testing. Let it sit two minutes. If a firm blob forms, it has enough pectin.

#3. Place a few spoons in the refrigerator. When you’re ready to test, dip a cold spoon into your plum preserves. The preserves should sheet cleanly off the spoon.


Always keep your kitchen clean and organized, working in an orderly fashion. I like to run my jars through the dishwasher to clean them, but you can wash them in warm soapy water if you prefer.

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I find it helpful to keep my lids in warm water on the back of the stove. (Don’t boil them before processing or you can damage the seal.) Keep jars warm in your canning water or dishwasher. Never pack hot jam into cold jars!

Which Honey to Use for your Plum Preserves

Choose wildflower honey or other mild flavored honey such as clover honey to blend with the flavor of the citrus and spices in these plum preserves. (The National Honey Board can help you locate an apiary in your area.)

For instructions for plum jam made with sugar and more ideas for excess plums, see Plum Jam with Walnuts and Rum.

plum preserves

Spiced Plum Preserves with Honey

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  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 3 cups 1x
  • Category: Jam
  • Method: Canning


Units Scale
  • 5 cups of plums, chopped and pitted
  • 2 tbsp of freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp orange juice
  • 1 cup mild honey
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom powder (optional)


  1. Pit plums; do not peel. Chop or leave in halves. Measure 4 cups into a 6- or 8- quart sauce pot. Add lemon juice, orange juice, honey and cardamom (if desired).
  2. Prepare jars (wash, inspect rims, clean in sink or dishwasher). Keep lids warm until ready to fill jars.
  3. Bring plum mixture to gentle boil on medium heat, stirring frequently to prevent sticking to the bottom of the pot. Continue to cook and stir until plum jam reaches desired thickness. (Remember, jam will thicken as it cools.)
  4. Skim off any foam with a metal spoon, if desired. (I usually skip skimming.)
  5. Ladle quickly into prepared jars, filling to 1/4 inch of top. Wipe jar rims and threads. Cover with two piece lids.
  6. Process jars for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath canner. When processing time is done, let rest a few minutes in the water bath, then place jars on a towel on the kitchen counter. Allow to cool completely.
  7. Remove rings for storage. Wipe tops and test seals. Date and label and store in a cool, dark location. Best if used within 1-2 years.

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plum preserves and plums

More Jams and Jellies

If you enjoy this plum preserve recipe, I encourage you to take a look at the full list of canning and preserving recipes. We have over 30 jam and jelly recipes on the site, including:

Originally published in 2010, last updated in 2019.

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  1. Thanks for the tip on how to check if the batch has enough pectin. By “alcohol” do you mean the drinkable kind or rubbing alcohol, or does it even matter?

  2. I should imagine the lemon juicecwill serve two purposes: Balance the sweetness from the honey and help the jelly to set. When I made plum jam in Tanzania I could not get pectin so just used lemon juice.

    Providing there is no ‘air’ left in the jars, the jam should last for years if it doesn’t get eaten first!!

  3. Thanks for stopping by, Lea. I just made up a batch of this with Pomona's pectin and tweaked the recipe a bit, so I'll have to post the modified recipe, too.

  4. Ooh, this looks yummy!

    Thank you for your submission on Nourishing Treasure's Whole Health Weekend Link-Up.

    Check back tonight when the new link-up is running to see if you were one of the top 3 featured posts! πŸ™‚

  5. Mom has a Brooks Plum (prune) tree that always goes hog wild with plums. I did freeze a bunch, now I'm thinking I need to make this delicious preserve! Thanks for the recipe!

  6. If I remember correctly you are in NE Wisconsin, right? That is close to where I grew up (Maribel area) and I'm wondering if you'd be willing to share your contact for grass fed beef. We live in Milwaukee, but I get up there sometimes and I've been struggling to find some down in this area (especially that doesn't cost an arm and a leg). Would you e-mail me with an info you could provide on farmers, prices, etc?

    I enjoy your blog…can't wait to be out of the city myself!


  7. Thanks Laurie…..this recipe sounds so good.
    Wow you made it just under the wire…and it's weird. It's 10:28 p.m./central standard time and the blog hop was set to end at 11:59 p.m. CST…it is is already closed. I just went at looked at the site and yup it's all correct on there and time zone.