July 2009 Archives

White Nectarine Jam

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Nectarine Jam

This is like a little potted bit of summer. The delicate flavour of white nectarines in a jar.

White Nectarine Jam
(makes about 6 to 7 1-cup jars of jam)

About 1.5 kilos nectarines
800 grams sugar
juice of one small lemon (about two ice cubes worth of juice)

Blanch the nectarines by dipping them in boiling water for about 30 seconds, then dipping them into cold water to loosen the skins. Slip the skins off (preferably leaving as much of the pink flesh under the skin as possible for a more lovely pink colour). Cut in half, remove the pit, and then slice into pieces about the size you want in a jam pot (I did nice thin wedges).

Weigh out 1 kilo of the nectarine slices. Eat any left over to make sure the nectarines are are wonderful as they look. Don't just throw the extras in because the ratio of a jam recipe is delicate and messing with it causes jam failures.

Put nectarines, lemon juice, and sugar in a jam pot and heat until the sugar is dissolved. Pour into a glass or ceramic bowl, cool it down, and let it sit overnight in the refrigerator (24 hours is optimal; less is fine).

The next day, prepare your jam jars and water bath.

Sieve the juice from the fruit into the jam pot, and set the fruit aside. Heat the juice to 105C on a candy thermometer, which should be about five minutes of boiling. Add the fruit back in, reheat and boil for a further five minutes, until the fruit starts to turn translucent. If you don't like surprises, check the set of the jam. Remove from heat, skim any foam off the surface with a spoon (you can put the foam in an unsealable jar for later, or on a slice of bread for right away; it's not bad, it's just not pretty).

Ladle the jam into jars until they are full to 1/4" from the top, clean the rims, and seal in the water bath according to your elevation. If you have not quite enough for a full jar, do not process it but set it aside to refrigerate for immediate consumption. My partial jar didn't even make it into the fridge.

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Sweet Cherry Raspberry Jam

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Many years ago my mother sent my father out to get sour cherries, and he came home with sweet cherries. Lots of them. So she took our usual abundance of red raspberries and made a quantity of sweet cherry raspberry jam that has become legendary. It is quite possibly one of the finest red jams known to mankind.

Well, the other day I was walking into Trader Joe's and noticed a 3-lb container of sweet cherries on sale. I added in a few frozen packages of red raspberries (one of the fruits it is totally worth buying organic, by the way, because they absorb everything), and that evening I made up some jam.

Here's the recipe I used (I made two batches with my 3 lbs of cherries):

Sweet Cherry Raspberry Jam (aka Cherry-Berry Jam)

1 3/8 lbs cleaned and pitted sweet cherries
1 1/8 lbs frozen organic red raspberries
(or divide the fruit to get a total of 2 1/2 lbs of fruit in the proportions of your choice)

juice of one small lemon (two ice cubes of frozen lemon juice, in my case)
4 cups sugar
1 packet no/low-sugar pectin

Some recipes have you chop the cherries up, but I like how whole fruits feel in a jam. If you don't, this is the point where you chop up your cherries as you prefer them. The raspberries will fall apart in cooking any way you work it, especially if they have already been frozen, so don't bother spending too much time on them.

Put the fruit, sugar, and lemon juice into glass bowls and allow to macerate overnight. I prefer 24 hours.

The next day, prep your jam jars and water bath. Put the contents of the bowl on the stove and heat until sugar is dissolved in the juice. Mix in the packet of pectin.

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Heat to a simmer and hold it there for one minute. Then test your set, skim the top (I skim it into a jar to put in the fridge: it's just foamy, not bad), and ladle the jam into the pots, cover, and process.

Makes 7-8 one-cup jars of jam, depending on how enthusiastic you are about skimming.

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This page is an archive of entries from July 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

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