My cousin Morag pushed the jam jar towards me. I read the label “Parkinson’s Jam”. Inside the jar I could make out dark crimson plums and whorls of oranges dotted with intriguing little nuggets which I found out later were nuts and raisins. “It’s delicious” she said “my mother used to make it every year”.
“But why Parkinson’s Jam?” I asked, thinking of my personal battle with the condition. At this she rose and selected an old volume from her shelves of cookery books and reported: “I couldn’t work out what the connection could be and then I remembered this cookery book which came with our brand new Parkinson’s Gas Cooker in the late 1950’s”. In those days cookery books were often given out with new appliances. Mo passed me the book for inspection and in my hands it fell open at a well-used bespattered page. This unusual jam, named in the Parkinson’s book as “New Jam”, had become a firm favourite in my aunt’s repertoire and a useful weapon in times of a glut of plums.
Parkinson’s Jam Recipe – fills about 10 jam jars
- 2kg plums
- 2 oranges
- 100g raisins
- 100g walnuts
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 2 kgs sugar
Wash the plums and cut each one into four, discarding the stones. Slice the oranges thinly and either use as a whole disc or if preferred, cut them into smaller pieces. Stir the mixture over a gentle heat until the sugar is dissolved, then boil faster until it reaches the setting point. Pour into washed and heated jam jars. Every time you or your family or friends use the recipe, you and they might consider making a small donation to Parkinson’s UK research or to the Edinburgh Branch.