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Beach Plum Jelly

Beach Plum Jelly
Elspeth Pierson for NPR

This recipe is adapted from the one Alex's grandmother passed down to me. If you don't have time to make jelly when you pick the fruits, you can make the juice and freeze it until you're ready. This is also a good trick for spreading out the jelly in between years of plenty.*

Makes 7 or 8 (8-ounce) jars

8 heaping cups beach plums

1 cup water

6 cups sugar

3 ounces liquid pectin

In a large soup pot, cook the beach plums and the water over medium-high heat until the fruit is soft. Set a large mixing bowl underneath a colander and pour the hot juice through, straining out the pits and skins. (Some people say to use cheesecloth, but Alex's grandmother says she never bothers, and her jelly always turns out just fine.)

Measure out 4 cups of beach plum juice. Rinse out the pot and pour in the juice with the sugar. Heat the mixture over medium-high heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved, and bring it to a rolling boil. Add the pectin and bring the mixture back to a boil for 1 minute. Remove the jelly from the heat and pour it into sterilized jars. Store in a cool, dark place for up to a year.

*Note: Beach plums grow over a fairly wide range of the East Coast — from Maine to Virginia. But if you can't get them, you can substitute regular large plums, chopped to approximate the quantities.

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