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Sunday, June 10, 2012

Make Jelly From the Fruit of Your Ornamental Plum

This is cherry plum, not from the ornamental tree but the
same fruit sold as Delite cherry plum

Q. We have a flowering plum (supposedly ornamental) tree in our front yard.  This year it is covered with small walnut sized plums.  Are these edible?  I am envisioning plum jam if they are edible.

A. Yes they are! These plums are sour but great flavor so use lots of sugar and follow your favorite plum jelly or jam recipe. By the way, it can also be used to make wine or infused into vodka or grappa with sugar and let it stand for three to four months or longer. I was put to shame by one of our local winemakers who brought me some of his ornamental plum jam and another with his infused vodka.

Purple leaf (ornamental) plum
            Because the plums are so small wash and put them into a pot and add enough water to cover them. Boil them for 20 minutes or the skins pop. Mash with a potato masher. Continue to cook another 10 minutes. Let cool.

            Strain mashed fruit through cheesecloth or jelly bag. Add Sure Jell to filtered juice and extra water and bring back to a rolling boil, stirring all the time. Add butter and all the sugar and boil for one minute. Skim and pour into jelly jars.

 Ornamental Plum Jelly
4 c. plum juice
1 c. water
6 1/2 c. sugar
1 box Sure-jell
1 tsp. butter


  1. Hi,
    Thanks for this answer. I'm going to do it. Do you know when to pick the plums?

  2. Watch them when they turn from green to purple and then taste them. Make them when they are sweet/soft.

  3. I followed your recipe exactly and although the jelly turned out perfectly, it is super overly sweet. Am I able to cut down the amount of sugar by half and still have the same results?

    1. Not a problem with adding less sugar. If these plums are grown in the desert they will have a higher sugar content than in other regions due to high temperatures and high light intensities. Also try juicing them without sugar. This plum, depending on which one it is, can also be called Cherry Plum or Myrobalan Plum. Selections of this plum for fruit production are under the variety names of Sprite and Delite. Some are quite well known for their sugar content. Sugar content also depends on the stage they were picked. When fully ripe they have very high sugar contents, as high as wine grapes.

    2. For an even better flavor experience include some fruit that have begun to dry on the tree but eliminate those that are not ripe.