Nectarine Raspberry Preserves
Okay, the other day I related my canning adventures…Today I broke into the nectarine preserves. (By which I mean, I opened them, not that I busted the jar or anything.)
Oh. My. God.
Unfortunately, I didn’t even use anything like a proper recipe–I started with the one from The Art of Preserving, and then kind of improvised from there. (By the way, improvisation is something to be wary of in home canning in a water bath, which can only be done with high acid foods. I sort of went on the theory that if you can make preserves out of raspberries, and you can make preserves out of nectarines, then combining the two shouldn’t be an issue, right? As usual, the disclaimer: please don’t read this blog, decide to do what I did about pretty much anything, and then blame me if you get sick. Do your own homework! I’m a musician, not a CDC worker.)
Just for those who are not canning-obsessed: Jam is a process that causes the fruit to break down and gel, either from its own natural pectin or from added commercial pectin. Jelly is like jam, only strained and clear. Preserves are pieces of whole fruit suspended in syrup, and actually a lot easier to make because you don’t have to worry about jell points and stuff.
Nectarine Raspberry Preserves
- Pit and quarter–or eighth–about 3 lbs of nectarines. (This was a pain in the tail, because the pits all split open.)
- Place in a non-reactive metal bowl with about 3 cups sugar. Let sit overnight in fridge.
- Here you have choices: most intelligent non-lazy recipes tell you to drain off the syrup from the fruit and boil it for half an hour or so, and then to re-introduce the fruit for another ten minutes. I found only one recipe that told you to just dump it all in a pan and boil it for 30-40 minutes or so, so naturally that’s the one I used, because I didn’t feel like getting my strainer all sticky.
- Five minutes before the end, throw in a cup of raspberries, 2 tbs lemon juice, and a splash of brandy.
- Using a slotted spoon, divide the fruit among 5-6 sterilized half pint jars. (More or less.) Fill with syrup to about a quarter inch from the top. (Leaving the head space is important.)
- If you have enough leftover syrup, pour this into another half pint jar or so; otherwise just save in the fridge.
- Process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.
Wow. I mean, just, wow. You could probably do this without soaking the nectarines overnight–and this does make for a runnier syrup than you’d have if you drained and cooked it down before adding the fruit, or if you didn’t soak them–but the syrup is one of the best parts, so I am happy to have it.
And by the way–if you don’t feel like fussing with the hot water bath, just make the stuff and refrigerate it. I can almost guarantee it won’t go to waste, because it’s seriously delicious. imagine this over vanilla ice cream…(or yogurt, I guess, but ice cream would be my choice.)…or in a shortcake kind of situation…or in a trifle…
I am imagining those things too…while I sit there with the jar in one hand and the spoon in another.
Seriously, you gotta try this stuff.