When life gives you cherry plums…

…make cherry plum jam!
cherry plums
We have these cherry plum trees all over town. They grow almost like weeds around here and I don’t think anyone really pays attention to the fruit. The plums just fall on the ground and make a great big, icky, sticky mess. And I’ll admit, I was completely one of those people. Then my ‘crazy’ husband went outside a few years ago, collected a few and made jam out them. I thought he had gone bananas. But then I tasted the jam. It was so good! Tart and sweet and the brightest shade of magenta you’ve ever seen. It’s now my favorite jam of all.
So far we’ve made 8 jars this season and as I type we have another big pot of jam boiling on the stove. Our exact as science recipe? A pot full of plums and a few handfuls of sugar. Simmer and smash them. Strain them and simmer some more. Then put up into jars. Enjoy on toast. Give away to friends.

Kale for Sale has a great post on wasted fruit, check it out. Also GreenBean has a good comment on that post…if you belong to a group in your town, such as a mom’s group, or maybe your local freecycle, send out an e-mail asking if anyone has any fruit they won’t use. You might end up with bags of free fruit that you can use for freezing, making tarts, jam or fruit rollups.

For a more exact tutorial on how we make Cherry Plum Jam, read here.


Filed under Fruit Trees, In the Kitchen

23 responses to “When life gives you cherry plums…

  1. Looks delicious! In Connecticut we get a lot of wild grapes. By fall you can smell them in the air, but nobody picks them. Last year I braved poison ivy and vicious rabbits to pick me bag after bag that a friend then made into jam. Completely, utterly delicious!

  2. Yum! We harvest my plum tree every year and make plum buckle and tons of plum jelly. We also harvest the wild blackerries from the bramble in the back 40 and make blackberry jam and jelly too. It’s fun and makes great PB&J sandwiches all year long!

    Great site as always, thanks!

  3. asonomagarden

    It’s good to hear of others taking advantage of the wild foods out there too. SJones, you and your rabbit stories are too funny. I’m just picturing growling rabbits just ready to bite your leg off.

    Sinfonian, what is plum buckle? Our Santa Rosa Weeping Plum is about a week away from being ripe, so I’d appreciate more ways to use plums.

  4. The jam looks delicious. You’ve given me inspiration to check out some orphaned yellow plum trees this weekend that could be my next victims of jam. Oh, and I love your recipe – a pot and a handful. That’s cooking at my house. Thanks.

  5. I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoy your blog. I’m not even sure how I came across it, but I check it regularly. As a new gardener, I love reading your tips and treasures.

    I have a crab apple tree in my front yard. Probably can’t get much from those =)


  6. asonomagarden

    Nice to meet you Megan! I hope you come back to visit and comment in the future.

    Katrina, give those poor little yellow plums a try. Sometimes they can be mushy, but with a little sugar everything tastes better.

  7. This looks so goooood!!

    Thanks for submitting this to the Carnival of Home Preserving! It will be in the very first edition (to be posted on Monday)

  8. Pingback: Walking Therein » Blog Archive » The Homesteading Carnival: Southern Sunsets Edition

  9. Thank you again for submitting to the Carnival of Home-Preserving!

    The carnival is posted if you’d like to come visit:


    Have a wonderful day!


  10. Charlee

    I used to live in California and we had a field of cherry plum trees in our backyard. I used to go out and pick them every year, eat them and freeze them so that I could eat them in the winter time. Now I live in Arkansas and I can not find any around or any websites that sell the trees and I would love to get a few to plant in our back yard for my kids. If you know of where I could buy some please let me know.

  11. Pingback: Practice Your Jam Skills, Making Cherry Plum Jam (Day 14 to 30 DTABG) « A Sonoma Garden

  12. lmd

    I loved this article! I had been seeing these every where and wondering if they were edible. Thanks so much!

  13. Carrie Collonge

    I grew up with cherry plums! They grew wild all over my grandmother’s yard. The one thing she used to do with them that hasn’t been mentioned here yet – make “plum juice” – which means you just stew the hell out of them, strain them (more or less, in my grandmother’s case) and then mix them with sugar and water and ice. This stuff is so wonderful on a hot day! My brothers and sisters and I still talk about it.

  14. Toby Sonneman

    I was just wondering what these were and had picked a pocket-full on my walk (I’m in Washington State so we’re a few weeks behind you in ripeness. They look like big cherries and taste like plums, so it makes sense they’d be cherry plums! That jam looks terrific.

  15. Cousin John

    I make them into wine. It’s great! Tastes just like the plum wine you can get in Japanese restaurants. I get mine from my neighbour on 2nd St. East across the street from Vella’s.

    • asonomagarden

      Wine! That’s a great idea. You must live just down the street from us, we walk to Vella’s often.

    • Ani

      Do you press them? Boil them? Tell me how. I am up in Humboldt Co. and have 5-6 trees full of cherry plums. I am making jam but would like to try wine. Thanks

  16. Hi, there.
    I’m so happy I found your blog! I am new to Sonoma and have been saving about 50 of those little cherry plums for weeks now, amounting to a stuffed freezer and not really being sure if foraging without a little research is, indeed, a good idea. Once I Googled “cherry-sized plums” and came up to your page, I knew I was in good company. So far I have made chutney and jam with syrah and lavender with them, and they just keep on falling. Today I added them to a smoothie with banana, kale, mint, flax seeds, yogurt, and almond milk and it was incredible, especially once the skin was shredded into little textury bites in the smoothie.

  17. Pingback: Four Years of Junes : 30 Days to a Better Garden Revisited | A Sonoma Garden

  18. Pingback: summer jams: yes we can » The Life of My Mouth

  19. I too live in the pacific north west. we just bought a new home and there are several cherry plum trees here Never seen them before going to go pick some more right now i have about a gallon picked and turn it into jam Thank you for your blog

  20. Would there be any way to get a small seedling?

  21. Micheal Starnes

    Hello I just stumbled across your blog and was wondering if you could tell me if I have a cherry plum tree or not. its not a very big tree about 14ft tall
    and has berries on it that look like cherries and it has what looks like thorns
    on the limbs not many but there their and the leaves are kinda oval but not serrated don’t know how to put a pic on here or I would so you can see it. I live in Georgia and was wondering. thanks Michael Starnes

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s