That's what I was doing yesterday morning — just sittin' and pittin'. Je dénoyautais des mirabelles pour faire de la confiture. I ended up with just over a kilogram of pitted plums.
I started the process of turning those mirabelle plums into what I would call "preserves" but which is France is just called confiture. "Jam" is also called confiture in French. And then there's jelly, which is gelée [zhuh-LAY] in French, but which in my dialect of U.S. English is a generic term for either jelly (jelled syrup) or jam (with fruit pulp in it).
Anyway... Here's the recipe for confiture de mirabelles that I'm using. It comes from a French book by a woman named Christine Ferber that was published in the late 1990s and titled Mes Confitures. The point of the recipe is to keep as many chunks or pieces of fruit in the jelly as possible. That's why I'd call it preserves.
• 1.2 kg of whole mirabelle plums, or 1 kg pitted
• 800 g of sugar
• the juice of a small lemon
Rinse the plums in cold water. Dry them in a kitchen towel and cut them in half so that you can remove the pits. In a big bowl, mix the pitted plums and the lemon juice with the sugar. Let the mixture macerate for an hour.
Next, pour the fruit/sugar mixture into a pot and bring it to a bare simmer. At that point, pour it back into the bowl, cover it, and let it stand overnight in a cool place.
The next day, pour the fruit and syrup into a fine sieve and reserve the syrup separate from the fruit. Bring the syrup to a boil and skim it carefully to clarify it. Keep the heat on high. Reduce the liquid until it thickens and reaches a temperature of 105ºC.
Put the reserved fruit back into the syrup and, on high heat bring it back to the boil, stirring it gently. Continue skimming as the confiture boils for three minutes. At that point, it should be ready to be put up in jars.
So today, rather than sitting and pitting, I'll be standing, stirring, and skimming. Wish me luck. CHM, you told me I needed to make more plum jam, so I am doing so. There are so many plums this year. I'll save you at least a jar of it.
In her book, Christine Ferber recommends using the larger mirabelles de Nancy for these preserves, but I think the ones I have are mirabelles de Metz. They're the ones our neighbor across the street gave us the other day, minus the ones that Walt baked into a tart. They will have to do.