Many people ask me where in the world do I find the fruit for making jelly. Finding these plums is a good example of how I find fruit. Today I was sitting at my local gourmet restaurant , Whataburger, when I noticed fruit on the trees outside the restaurant. Upon finishing the meal I strolled outside to inspect the trees. There were 5 plum trees full of ripe fruit. Four of the trees had red fruit and one had yellow fruit. Not only were the trees full but so was the ground. In fact, one could not walk by without stepping on the plums. My brother-in-law and I picked up all the fruit I needed from the ground. These are most likely a Mexican plum. They are 3/4 of an inch in diameter so they hardly compare with the standard plums. They made for a wonderfully tart and colorful jelly. We picked about 10 cups of fruit. During the time we picked the fruit not one person inquired what we were doing.
Mexican Plum (Prunus mexicana) is a small (20 feet) understory tree in creek beds and along fence rows. It ripens in late August-September in the eastern half of the state. It is often planted around homes in Central Texas. It bears fruit without any additional water even in a drought.
Because the plums are so small you do not cut them up into pieces. Instead put them into a pot and add enough water to cover them. Boil them for 20 minutes. Once they are thoroughly cooked mash the fruit with a potato masher. Continue to cook another 10 minutes. Run the plums through a food mill sitting over a sieve to extract all the juice. Should you want to make jam simply use the pulp that is now in your sieve since all the seeds should remain in your food mill.
For jelly pour the juice into cheese cloth. Then take this juice (and pulp if making jam) and put in your kettle. Bring juice to a boil and then add 1 pkg of No sugar needed pectin. When the jelly has once again come to hard boil slowly add sugar. Bring to hard boil for 1 minute. Cool, then pour into freezer containers. and place in the freezer until needed.
4 cups of Plum juice (wild or otherwise)
3 cups of sugar
1 pkg of No sugar needed pectin
As you can see from the picture the jelly has a beautiful color. It has a pleasantly tart flavor.