This recipe yields about 5 half-pints, but this varies depending on your fruit.
Here is a short glossary of basic canning terms:
Band: A metal, threaded screw band used with a lid to form a two-piece cap.
Boiling-Water Canner: A large pot or kettle big enough to completely immerse filled jars; used to process jars.
Gelling Point: Point at which a cooked soft spread sheets (rather than drops) off a spoon.
Headspace: The unfilled area between the rim of a jar and the top of the contents of that jar.
Lid: A flat, metal vacuum sealing lid used with a band to form a two-piece cap.
Preserves: A type of soft spread where the fruit retains its shape; the syrup is much thinner than a jam or jelly.
Processing: Sterilizing jars and their contents in a canner (a boiling-water canner, in our case) to destroy any bacteria or enzymes that may harm you.
Step 1: Gather Ingredients and Supplies
Gathering all of the necessary ingredients and supplies before you begin will save you time and make the canning process much smoother.
You will need the following ingredients and supplies:
5 cups (2 1/2 lbs) pitted plums)
1 cup water
4 cups sugar
large saucepot (3 quart capacity should be fine)
small saucepot (This is just to keep the lids in, so size isn't as important)
canner or large stockpot (This is what the filled jars will process in)
wooden spoon or wire whisk
jelly jars (a.k.a. half-pint jars)
lids and bands
Optional: You will need either a candy/jelly thermometer, or a saucer and a spoon (or both). This will be used to test the gelling point of your preserves.
It is very helpful to have canning utensils, such as a jar lifter, lid lifter, wide-mouth funnel, and headspace tool. However, if you do not have these, you can use tongs (to lift jars out of the hot water), a fork or a magnet (to lift lids out of the hot water). Just be very careful not to drop your jars!