White Nectarine Preserves

A  friend of mine gifted me a box of white nectarines from his farm.  They’re sweet, ripe and juicy, and once we ate as many as we could, we turned the rest into this simple, lovely preserve.  white nectarines

I’ve been playing around with a couple different variations on this recipe.  I think my favorite is spiced with vanilla bean, but I also really enjoy a version with warm pie spices: cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, some ground ginger.  nectarine jamWHITE NECTARINE PRESERVES

(Makes: I forgot to write down how many half pint jars. 7? I think it was 7.)

Cook Time: an hour, plus overnight to macerate the fruit.

Ingredients:

  • 4 1/2 lbs. white nectarines, pits removed and sliced into quarters
  • 2 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • optional: 1 vanilla bean

In a large, nonreactive pot, combine the sliced nectarines, sugar,  and lemon juice.  If you want to add the vanilla bean, scrape the seeds into the fruit mixture and then nestle the pod in with the sliced fruit as well. Cover with saran wrap (right up against the fruit to prevent browning) and refrigerate for around 24 hours.

Bring boiling water canner to a boil and prepare jars and lids.  Cook the jam, stirring to prevent burning, until it gels (click here if you don’t know what I’m talking about) or reaches 220 degrees on a candy thermometer.  About half way through the cooking time, I mashed the fruit up with a potato masher to make it more of a jammy consistency.  You don’t have to; you could leave the fruit in bigger pieces to make it more like a preserve.  Alternatively, run half of the cooked jam through a food mill to remove the skins and really make it like a jam instead of a preserve (thicker, with fewer big chunks of fruit). It’s up to your own personal preference.

Ladle hot jam into hot, clean jars leaving 1/4″ headspace.  Process for 10 minutes, adjusting for altitude as necessary.

P.S. You could make this recipe with yellow nectarines too, but you might not need as much lemon juice since they’re more acidic than white nectarines. Taste them and see.

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Nectarine Sorbet Sodas

nectarine sorbet sodaOur weather forecast is super depressing.  I’m trying to come to grips with the fact that nothing is really going to get done this week because I’m going to spend most of the time sitting around sweating and complaining about how hot it is.  I can deal with temperatures up to about 104, but once it crosses that….. when it’s in the 110s, I basically give up on life.  I did have a lightning bolt of inspiration that’s making these week a little bit more tolerable, though….. these nectarine sorbet sodas that I’ve been making are so refreshing and cold, I can’t stop drinking them.  I found some amazing nectarines at a farm stand near us last week, so juicy that they ended up dripping all over us and making a huge mess when we tried to eat them.  They’re perfectly ripe and sweet and it would be a shame to fuss with them too much.

The nectarines turned into a honey-sweetened sorbet which has then been going into sorbet sodas. I’ve been playing around with different combinations: the sorbet floated in plain seltzer water is barely sweet at all (how I like it), but for something a little sweeter, I’ve tried adding a splash of lemonade and some syrup from the pantry.  Right now I have elderflower syrup and rhubarb syrup, both of which go wonderfully with nectarine sorbet, but I’m sure that lots of other fruit syrups would be really nice.  (Blackberry? Blueberry? Why don’t I already have these in the pantry….?)

NECTARINE SORBET FLOATS

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Makes: 1 float

Ingredients:

  • 1 scoop of nectarine sorbet (recipe follows)
  • seltzer water
  • lemonade or soda syrup (optional)
  • nectarine slices, for garnish

Put a scoop of sorbet in the bottom of a glass.  Add a splash of lemonade or soda syrup if you want some sweetness to your drink.  Top with seltzer water and garnish with nectarine slices.

 

NECTARINE SORBET

(I want to emphasize: this is really not that sweet. I’m not a big fan of sugary things  at all, but if you are, you’ll want to taste it and sweeten the mixture accordingly to your own taste. I was going for light and refreshing more than a sweet dessert with this recipe.)

Cook Time: 30 min, plus several hours in the fridge to cool the fruit puree

Special Equipment: ice cream maker

Ingredients:

  • 1 c. water
  • 1/4 c. honey
  • 8 large nectarines, quartered

Bring the water and honey to a simmer in a medium sized pot. Add the nectarine slices and simmer for 10 minutes.  Remove from heat, and puree with an immersion blender (or whatever you have…)  Put the nectarine puree in the fridge to cool completely.  Once it’s cold, just prepare the sorbet according to your ice cream maker’s instructions.