Archive | 10:41 pm

This has the potential to get very dangerous…

25 Jan

I’ve been on a bit of a preserving run of late. After bottling the tomatoes the other day and feeling pretty pleased with myself, I’ve been reading,  and thinking of other possibilities. Our family eats a lot of jam (hence P’s diet), and so that really is the natural progression.

We are off for the long weekend to a farmstay, and I ordered too many nectarines for the week. They will be past their best by the time we get back, so I thought I’d make some jam out of them. I’d been reading Rhonda’s blog and it really didn’t seem too hard, so tonight I thought I’d give it a go.

I cut up the nectarines, some white, some yellow (about 2.4 kilos) and put them into a large stockpot with about half their weight in sugar. That seemed like an awful lot to me, but looking at various recipes it seems that that is actually a low-sugar jam!

I also added half a large lemon – I squeezed the juice into the pan then added the skin to the pot too.

I added a little bit of water to allow the sugar to start to dissolve, then put it on medium heat, stirring regularly.

The mix eventually came to the boil and I used a potato masher to break down the chunks of fruit to a reasonable consistency. I didn’t want to puree it, but I didn’t want it to be awfully lumpy either. Tasting the mix I decided it needed another sqeeze of lemon juice, and I also added a tablespoon of vanilla bean paste (with the lovely little seeds).

As I cooked the mix down it became thicker and the colour darkened. I chose not to use pectin in this batch because apparently nectarines are naturally high in pectin, especially under-ripe nectarines, and a few of the fruit were a bit under ripe.

Once I was happy with the consistency of the jam once it had cooled on the spoon, I took it off the boil and started ladling it into clean jars. This is where my inexperience really showed. Jam makers have these really cool funnels for the purpose, but I was trying to co-ordinate a ladle, jars of varying sizes and scaling hot fruit and sugar!

It filled at least twice the number of jars as I expected, so had to move onto a few less than ideal jars with labels still attached. I cleaned the stockpot and filled it with the jars and water (covering the jars). I brought it to the boil and held it there for 15 minutes or so, ensuring that they’d seal properly and be safe to store.

I may just need a few more jars for future jams – I can tell that this is going to be addictive. Heelloo Diabetes!