Plum and Wild Fennel Jam

1st April 2016

Interview & Photographs: Monica R. Goya

“I like fruit that’s a bit tart, like plums and rhubarb, and I think plums work well with aniseed flavours. The fennel flowers, which I pick in my back garden, kind of make sense as a match for the plums because they’re growing around the same time: when the flowers come out in summer, the plums are just starting. They make a really nice jam.”
Lillie O’Brien, jam-maker, London

Makes 6 x 300ml jars


1kg opal plums
600g unrefined caster sugar
1 lemon, squeezed
Freshly-picked fennel fronds


Roughly chop the fennel fronds and let them macerate in the sugar overnight.

Sterilise the jam jars. Preheat your oven to 100C (gas). Wash the jars in warm water then place in the oven for 15 minutes. Meanwhile put the lids in a saucepan, cover them with water, bring the water to the boil and let it simmer for 5 minutes.

The next day, stone and quarter the plums. Place them in a heavy-based saucepan and set on a low heat. Gradually add the fennel sugar and stir. Once the sugar has dissolved, add the lemon juice and bring the jam up to the boil. Cook until the desired setting point, checking after 20 minutes. Here’s one way to test it: leave a plate in the freezer for a while, then take it out and dollop some jam on the cold surface. The jam will set straight away if it’s done: you’ll see it ripple slightly and a skin will form. This is called the wrinkle test.

Leave the jam to rest for 10 minutes before pouring it into the sterilised jars.






Posted 1st April 2016

In Recipes


Interview & Photographs: Monica R. Goya