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Plum Jam with Orange & Cardamom

Plum jam is a delightful combination of tart and sweet, bright and spice that is sure to be a jar of summer on your pantry shelves. And this canning recipe makes a small batch that comes together quickly meaning you can get back to summer in a flash too.

An open jar of plum jam with a spoon inside sitting in front of fresh plums.

Perfectly Ripe Plums

Use whatever plums you happen to have on hand – red, black, damsons, etc. However, do use plums that are perfectly ripe or even slightly overripe in this recipe.

Under-ripe plums are likely to be harder and more tart. The hardness makes for a slightly less spreadable jam.

This is a great way to use up any of those plums that sat on the counter too long before anyone ate them or found for a deal at the local fruit stand.

Pectin for Ease

Jam making can be done without pectin. However, it requires a long cooking time. For times when you want to make jam but don’t want to stand by the stove and stir, pectin is your friend.

An open jar of plum jam with spoon inside it on a table with fresh plums and cloth napkin.

The flex pectin from Ball allows for customizing and even making larger sized batches so that you can keep some for yourself and have gifts for giving later, too.

Turbinado Sugar for Flavor

Plums and brown sugar go together quite nicely but brown sugar in jam tends to be a bit overpowering. Enter raw or turbinado sugar. This gives a hint of that darker sweet flavor without overpowering.

An open jar of plum jam with spoon inside it on a table with fresh plums and cloth napkin.

There’s also just a small amount of sugar to allow the full tartness and flavor of the plums to shine through.

Orange Zest

The orange zest gives this jam quite delightful bright flavor mix. One could skip it if necessary. Oranges in the middle of summer can be difficult and expensive at least in my small northern town.

Dehydrated orange zest could be used as well. Just use 2 teaspoons of dried zest in place of the 2 Tablespoons of fresh orange zest.

Cardamom for a Hint of Spice

A spiced jam is a lovely thing but in this plum jam the plums are definitely the star. To keep it that way there is just 1/2 teaspoon of ground cardamom added to the jam. The spice compliments the plums without overpowering the flavor.

small jar of plum jam with a couple of ripe plums in the background

Canning Jam Safety

Remember, to process jam safely for yourself and loved ones. All jam needs to be processed in a water bath canner. Do not simply pour into jars and seal.

If you prefer not to can, this jam can be frozen or refrigerated immediately for storage.

If frozen use up within 6 months. If refrigerated use up within 1 month – longer may be okay but watch for mold.

Tried this recipe? Please leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ star rating in the recipe card below and/or a review in the comment section further down the page. We always appreciate your feedback. You can also save the recipe for later by pinning it or clicking on the heart in the lower right hand corner.

Yield: 5 Half Pints

Plum Jam

An open jar of Plum jam sitting on a table in front of a sealed jar and 2 fresh plums.

A tart yet sweet and lightly spiced spread plum jam with orange and cardamom is full bright flavor sure to delight.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Canning Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes



  1. Get boiling water canner ready. Wash jars and lids. Have rings ready.
  2. In a saucepan, combine the pears, water, lemon juice, orange zest, and ground cardamom. Bring to a boil over high heat. Stir constantly. Make sure the mixture is boiling hard.
  3. Pour in the sugar all at once and mix well.
  4. Bring the mixture to a rolling boil and boil for 1 minute.
  5. Remove from heat.
  6. Pour the jam into jars, leaving 1/4" inch headspace. Remove any air bubbles.
  7. Wipe rims, place lids and rings on jars.
  8. Process in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes, adjust time for elevation.

Thanks for sharing!

Kay Duggan

Friday 30th of July 2021

I don't think all jam needs to be processed in a water bath canned. Is this a USA thing? I've never done this, and the jam keeps perfectly if jars are properly sterilized.

Angi Schneider

Friday 30th of July 2021

Yes, it's the recommended process from the USDA. Since we're in the US, those are the rules we follow and publish. We realize that other countries may have other recommendation. However, because jam recipes have such a wide variety of amounts of sugar and acidity, there's no way to say "Do XYX and your jam will be shelf stable and mold free" unless you process it for 10 minutes in a water bath.

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