For the last couple of weeks I've been having Monday canning dates with Ace. We fell into canning together sometime at the end of last summer when I was trying to preserve some peaches and made an excellent plum rose jam, and then we gained a windfall of apples and pears from the Apple Farm last September. Last week we made a nice plum chutney that came out okay -- not to my tastes but Ace was pleased with it.
Today she made a dapple dandy pluot jam and kept the skin on all her pluots. The flavor was nicely apricot-y and not too sweet.
I bought a bunch of white nectarines for a white nectarine-cardamom preserve. I don't love the flavor of white stone fruit (because usually, it has NO flavor, just sweetness) but I'd made something last season with white fruit and cardamom and remembered really liking it. I added half a lemon juice and peel with the idea of having to add more because the fruit was really sweet. It took one and a half lemons but I'm quite pleased with the results. The flavor is complex, though in a far different way than the pluots. The first taste you get is lemon juice, bleeding into cardamom. The peaches and sugar come through at the end. And the color is just beautiful! I left them at Ace's house to finish sealing but I'll try to get them and post a picture later.
I'm trying to find recipes for low-sugar no pectin jam that features stone fruits, but so far I'm not having much luck. Most of the low-sugar recipes call for lots of pectin and the standard recipes of equal parts sugar and fruit. This one is pretty good and does manage to taste sweet without tasting exclusively of sugar. I used about 10 ounces of sugar for 4 lbs of whole fruit. The pluots by contrast had a little less than three cups of sugar and tasted less sweet...but then, they're totally different than nectarines.
white nectarine-cardamom preserves
nectarines, whole 4 lbs.
cardamom pods 10-12, lightly crushed
sugar 1-1.5 cups
lemon 1.5, juiced and rinds thrown in pot
makes 4 8 ounce jars
peel and chop white nectarines. combine all ingredients in pot and let sit 30 minutes. bring to boil and let cook 30-40 minutes or until jam-like. this will be a loose mixture. taste as it gets thick for acidity, sweetness and spice. when the preserves are thick enough, you should can them (you can do a freezer test if you wish. i did.) or you can store them in the fridge for a good month or two.