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Friday, September 3, 2010

Peach Nectarine Jam


Peaches and nectarines were on sale at Aldi for 19 cents each, averaging out to about 55 cents a pound, so it was time to try another jam without commercial pectin. Sekapps, a local orchard, had half bushel windfalls of the first of the season apples so I had a good supply of slightly underripe fruit there, so everything was ready for the experiment to begin.

The result was everything I had hoped for--honey-colored preserves jelled just right, with a flavor that will remind us of summer well into the fall, if we can keep the supply long enough for that.

This week the price has gone up to 25 cents each for these same fruits (plums too), but they are still economical enough that I may try another batch. I will be making more raspberry jam now that the second crop of those berries is yielding a couple of quarts every few days, so any future batches will have to be put into canning jars and processed in a boiling water bath--I need some refrigerator space for the other produce of fall!

Peach Nectarine Jam

2 c chopped peaches (1 pound)
3 c chopped nectarines (1 1/2 pounds)
1 c grated apple (1/2 pound)--I used Paula Red variety, a type of McIntosh
1/4 c lemon juice
4 c sugar

Combine all ingredients in a large, deep pot, stir, and let sit for a few minutes to dissolve the sugar.

Heat the mixture to boiling and then cook over medium high heat, stirring often, until a candy thermometer reaches 220 degrees or until the mixture sheets off the spoon. (You may also use the cold plate test--drop a few drops on to a chilled glass or porcelain plate and check to see if the mixture is the thickness you seek.) This batch took about 22 to 25 minutes to reach the jelling stage after it began to boil.

Remove from heat and skim off foam. Pour into jars. If this will not be kept in the refrigerator, use canning jars and process in boiling water bath--5 minutes for half pints and 10 minutes for full pints.

This made approximately 3 pints of jam. I don't have an exact measurement, because I used a variety of containers, including a couple of footed sherbet dishes from a garage sale. These were covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated until I could give them as small hostess gifts.

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