Items you will need
- Sand plums
- Jelly bag
- Measuring cups
- Candy thermometer
- Sterilized canning jars and lids
Sand plums are cherry-sized plums that grow in sandy soil in the southwestern United States. Native to Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas, the fruit is also known as the Chicksaw plum because trade with the Chicksaw Indians may have helped the fruit spread. The sand plum bushes help secure sandy soil, preventing erosion, while the fruit feeds various wildlife, such as birds and deer. Sand plums are also popular as part of American regional cooking, typically made into jelly or wine.
Wash as many sand plums as you like. Put them in a large pot. Do not pit or peel them.
Cover the sand plums with water. Bring it to a boil.
Reduce the heat. Let the sand plums simmer until they are soft. The juixe should be bright red.
Strain the plums through a jelly bag, squeezing any additional juice out of the fruit pulp.
Measure the juice, then return it to the pot. Add an equal amount of sugar.
Slowly bring the heat up, stirring constantly, until the juice mixture reaches 220 degrees Fahrenheit.
Remove the pot from the heat. Ladle the jelly into sterilized canning jars. Seal the jars tightly. Leave half an inch at the top for the jelly to expand as it cools.
The jelly will set better if you use a mixture of three parts ripe sand plums and one part underripe sand plums. The ripe sand plums have more sweetness and a better flavor, but the underripe sand plums contain more pectin, which is what causes jelly to gel properly. If you don't have a jelly bag, you can strain the sand plum juice through several layers of cheesecloth or unbleached muslin.