Spiced Plum Preserves with orange, cinnamon and cardamom can be enjoyed with sweet foods like waffles, toast or muffins, or with savoury cheese or turkey dinner.


I have a sweet tooth and have always loved jam, and I’ve been making homemade jam for decades. Over the years there have been different favourites, including blueberry-peach jam and raspberry-blueberry freezer jam. I have very old memories of my mom making imitation raspberry jam with tomatoes because they were available (and probably given to her). Was it made with green tomatoes and food coloring, maybe?



When I was making my jam I always followed the measurements on the pectin box insert precisely, because the consequences if you didn’t were dire: If you didn’t follow the recipe exactly, your jam would not set, and what would be the point in making it if it didn’t set, right?


The thing that I tried to ignore when I made jam each year was the amount of sugar in the recipes. I tried to hide from my conscious mind the fact that each jar of jam was really a jar of white sugar disguised and flavoured by fruit of some kind. Reducing sugar was never an option, because the insert instructions warned to use ALL sugar specified and not to reduce, otherwise the jam or jelly would not gel. In recent years I’ve been unable to bring myself to make jams and jellies that are simply opportunities for inflammation and oxidative stress, two of the hallmarks of sugar.



And then there was the question of commercially packaged pectin, which contains water, citric acid, lactic acid, potassium citrate and sodium benzoate. Sodium benzoate is a food preservative used to inhibit the growth of mold and extend shelf life. It has also been shown to be genotoxic. Animal studies have shown that sodium benzoate and citric acid are linked to degenerative changes in tissues, particularly in the liver and kidneys.



So, this year I’ve ditched the white sugar and industrially processed pectin in favour of preserves made with honey or, as is the case with these Simple Plum Preserves, maple syrup and the natural pectin in fruit as a thickener, knowing that they won’t be as thick as jams and jellies that set with the help of processed pectin.


What you need to make Spiced Plum Preserves

  • 2 quarts purple plums
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 2 oranges (for juice and zest)
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • cardamom
  • cinnamon
  • canning jars (total of 6 cups) and unused 2-piece canning lids


These Spiced Plum Preserves can be used in numerous ways:

  1. Of course, preserves are delicious on toast
  2. Top muffins or sweet bread with preserves instead of butter or jam
  3. Pour over pancakes or waffles instead of maple syrup
  4. Combine with oil and vinegar to make salad dressing
  5. Top your favorite dairy or non-dairy cheese with preserves and serve with crackers
  6. Add to coconut yogurt with granola
  7. Pour over desserts, like ice cream or cheesecake
  8. Add preserves to a smoothie
  9. Serve with turkey dinner instead of cranberry sauce
  10. Combine with balsamic vinegar and use as a marinade for grilled fruit


Preserves, jams and jellies depend upon acid levels to prevent spoilage. It is recommended that acidity levels be below 4.6 to inhibit the growth of microorganisms that cause foodborne illness. Plums have a pH level of 2.8-3.0 and oranges are 3.0-4.0, making this a great fruit combination to preserve.


Try Spiced Plum Preserves with Cassava Cinnamon Crackers or make a breakfast wrap with Corn Tortillas, almond butter and Spiced Plum Preserves.


And don’t forget to leave a comment and tag me on instagram or Facebook if you make this or any of my recipes.


Spiced Plum Preserves

These Spiced Plum Preserves with orange, cinnamon and cardamom can be enjoyed with sweet foods like waffles, toast or muffins or with savoury cheese or turkey dinner.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
boiling water bath 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Course Breakfast, Condiment, Dessert
Servings 6 cups


  • 6x250ml or 12X125ml canning jars and unused 2-piece lids


  • 2 quarts purple plums
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • zest of two oranges
  • 1 vanilla bean or 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp cardamom


  • Wash plums. Cut in half and remove the seeds.
  • Cut open vanilla bean lengthwise and remove the paste
  • Add all ingredients to a large saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium high (enough to keep a rolling boil) and cook until preserves reach gelling point, about 40-45 minutes. (Preserves will not gel as thick as jam that has pectin).
  • Ladle preserves into hot sterilized canning jars, leaving 1/4” space at the top of the jar. Process for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath. Let sit until the lids seal.


Instead of processing with a boiling water bath, the preserves can be poured into jars, brought to room temperature, then stored in the freezer.
Keyword no pectin, pectin free preserves, plum preserves, plums, sweetened with maple syrup