Saturday, September 1, 2012

we be jammin'

I finally made jam this summer - for the first time ever! I got myself a giant box of nectarines and decided to have a go. It was surprisingly easy, and the result was SO delicious! I made three kinds of jam:

The first, Nectarine Raspberry, I based on this one found at Domestifluff.

The recipe I used is as follows:

Sugar Free Nectarine Raspberry Jam
recipe yields 8 one half pint jars
4 1lbs. nectarines, peeled, pitted, and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 lb. raspberries, fresh or frozen (thawed)
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 - 1 1/2 cups honey
pectin (amount will vary depending on what brand you’re using.
1. Place canning jars, lids, and rings in a water canning pot or stock pot. Fill the pot with water until it is 2 inches above the tops of the jars. Heat to boiling, and boil the jars, lids, and rings for 15 minutes to sterilize. 5 minutes before removing the jars, place the jar lifter and kitchen tongs in the boiling water to sterilize. Remove jars using the jar lifter and lids and rings using the kitchen tongs, and set on folded tea towels in preparation for the jam. After everything is removed from the pot, continue to keep the water just below a boil.
2. Mix nectarines and raspberries in pot, then bring mix to boiling. Add the honey, pectin and lemon juice. Stir until blended. Cook over medium high heat for 10-15 minutes, or until any foaminess subsides and the jam has thickened. Remove from heat. Blend with hand blender.
3. Immediately transfer the hot jam to a large glass measuring cup, or use a ladle with a large mouth jar funnel, and transfer the jam to the jars, filling until ¼ inch from the top. Using kitchen tongs, place the lids on the jars, and screw the rings over the lids. Since everything is hot, you’ll probably need oven mitts to do this.
4. Using the jar lifter, transfer the jars to the water-filled pot for 5 minutes. Remove from the water and place on folded tea towels to cool. As the jam cools, you should hear distinct “pops” for each jar as a vacuum forms and they seal.
 So the jam was a bit tart, but oh so delicious. Also, the texture was a bit runny for jam. In the future I am going to use a friend's suggestion and add a couple of apples in the cooking, both for pectin and sweetness. Another idea is to use gelatin to help thicken. Maybe? I'll try the former first, though.

Next, Nectarine and Vanilla preserves, from a recipe found at Vicious Sweet Tooth.

Nectarine and Vanilla Preserves
  • 3lbs Ripened Nectarines, diced
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  1. Start cooking down the fruit in a large mouthed pot. Combine Nectarines, sugar, lemon juice and vanilla and bring to a boil.
  2. By the time the water bath for the jars comes to a boil and then are boiled for 10 mins, the fruit should be just about ready for you to add to the jars and then process for another 5 mins in the water bath. You can leave the jam chunky or blend it with a handblender like I did.
  3. Scoop mixture into jars and then you want to make sure no preserves made it around the mouth of the jar, because this can prevent the seal from forming, so wipe the edges clean just to be sure.
  4. To add the lids to the jars, pour some of the hot water that the jars were being sterilized in and pour over the seals.  Then place lids onto the jars and secure the ring so that it’s finger tight, but not super tight.
  5. Then place jars carefully, using your new gadget, back into the water bath to “process” them, which means to boil them for a certain amount of time to kill any harmful organisms and to seal the lids. They go back into the water bath and make sure that the water covers 1″ above the jars to ensure a good seal.  Boil the water for 5 mins to activate seal.
  6. As they cool, they will suck the seals down and you’ll hear a popping sound.  Be patient as it takes minute or two.
This is my favourite of the three. The taste....AMAZING. Next time I will double the recipe for sure. SO. GOOD. 

And last but not least, I made Spiced Nectarine Butter based on the recipe found at Insanity Theory.

Spiced Nectarine Butter

2kg ripe nectarines
1 cup honey
1/2 cup water
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice 

1. Wash your nectarines, then halve them and remove the seeds and any dodgy bits – do NOT peel them or throw away any peel.
2. Put the nectarines into a large pot with the 1/2 cup of water and spice and cook over medium heat, simmering the mixture till the nectarines have almost liquefied (you should be able to pulverize them with a bit of pressure from a spoon), this will take about 15-20 minutes, depending on how ripe your fruit is.
3. Puree the cooked fruit with a hand blender.
4. Stir in the honey and cook over low-medium heat till the colour has deepened, the texture has become quite thick and the amount of liquid roughly halved. This should take anywhere between 45-60 minutes, and you will need to stir it every 5-10 minutes to stop the mixture sticking to the bottom.
5. CAREFULLY pour into hot sterilized jars till it is filled about 1cm from the top. Place the lid on the jar, then place in simmering water for 10 minutes. Carefully remove from the water and place on a dishcloth on your counter top to cool completely.
This rich, gooey nectarine butter can be enjoyed in a variety of ways:
  • Spread into little tartlette cases as jam tarts
  • Swirled through a cake or muffin mix to achieve a marbled effect
  • In thumbprint jam cookies
  • To fill a cake…
  • Whatever your imagination can come up with…!
 Again, so darn delicious! And again, I'd double the recipe - because it is so yummy! In fact, I may buy another case of nectarines, if there are any left, and just go pump up the jams.

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