Plum juice is a family favorite so I am glad we have 5 plum trees and I know how to juice and can plum juice at home. Making plum juice is one of the easiest ways to preserve our harvest. Plum Juice is a little thick and tart so we like to make it into a “punch” by mixing it with lemon-lime soda. It can also be made into a lovely jelly.
Prepare the Juicer and Jars
Begin by preparing for juicing. Heat clean jars in the oven at 250 degrees. Place lids in simmering water on the stove. Fill your boiling water bath so it will cover 4 quart-sized or 2 half-gallon jars. Place the water bath on medium heat to warm up. Fill the bottom of your juicer with water and start heating the water on medium heat as well.
If you need a more in-depth tutorial on how to use a steam juicer, visit our tutorial.
Prepare the Plums for Juicing
Since we will be using the leftover pulp to make plum butter we will de-stem and pit 6 pounds of plums. If you are only planning on using the juice you could skip this step. We are preparing 6 pounds because that is the amount needed for the butter recipe. If I was not making plum butter I would fill the top basket of the juicer with plums.
Place the plums in the top basket of the juicer and turn the heat up to high. Continue to check the water level on the bottom as you do not want to burn your pan. Over the course of 30 minutes to an hour (or so), depending on the ripeness of your fruit, the juice will collect in the middle basin of the juicer. Be careful not to let the middle juice receptacle spill over into the water below.
I like to use a stool as my working surface as it is at a good level from the level of the stove to allow me to use gravity to help drain the juice into my jars. Place something like a wood cutting board down to protect the stool, both from the heat and sticky messes. I like to have an additional jar available to catch any drips from the hose as sometimes the clamp allows a little to leak.
Fill and Process Mason Jars of Plum Juice
After the juice has collected in the middle portion of the steamer juicer I remove my hot jars from the oven. I then proceed to fill them with hot juice. Plums can be quite tart so if you like sweet juice it is a good idea to put about an inch of juice in the bottom and then add 1/4 cup of sugar (optional) to each jar before filling them to a 1/4 inch headspace. I generally add sugar, Emmaline never does. If you are planning on using the juice for another project, as we did in our video (plum jelly), then you want to leave it without the sugar or remember to subtract the sugar you already added from the jelly recipe.
After your jars are filled, place the lid and ring on fingertip tight. Now it is time to place them into the boiling waterbath canner. Process for 15 minutes if at sea level. (Adjust the processing time if you are above 1000 feet.) This processing time allows you to skip the jar sterilization that would otherwise be needed.
Next, we are going to use the leftover plum pulp to make Plum Butter.