Yeah, I know it's still winter. And preserves are probably the last thing on your mind right now. However, I was at Sam's Club a while ago and they had lovely bags of nectarines they were selling. You may not know this about me, but I have a compelling weakness for stone fruits. Peaches, nectarines, plums, cherries... I devour each equally. Seeing as how it was late February, one could say it had been a considerable amount of time since I'd had any stone fruit. And the nectarines looked amazing, I couldn't resist.
I grabbed a bag.
I ate most of the bag, but by the time I was done, I had 4 left. As always when I have leftover fruit, I began to rack my brain for ideas of what to do with it. Fruit recipes are some of my favorites recipes. I love fruit in pies, cakes, cupcakes, salads, marinades, paired with meats, paired with cheeses, you name it.
I turned to the fridge to see what I had on hand-
And saw a package of blackberries I'd recently bought because they were on sale. An idea began to dawn. It'd been ages since I'd made homemade jam.
It was decided. And that's how this recipe came to be.
I know I've discussed this before, but Jessica don't eat commercial jam. Sorry folks, but it's gross. Gross with a capital G. I'm sorry if you love commercial fruit spreads, but I can't get past the artificial flavors. They don't taste as much like real fruit as the homemade stuff. Sometimes, there's even an almost bitter, or alkaline flavor behind the fruit flavor. I don't know what causes that. I suspect it's probably the preservatives I'm tasting, and I think I taste them because I don't eat them a lot. Whatever the cause, I just make homemade jams, jellies, or preserves. I make a jar at a time, out of whatever fruit I have on hand. It takes about 25 minutes. It's easy, not that time consuming, and that jar lasts forever in the fridge.
And that's exactly like this recipe. Well, I actually ended up with 2 small jars but that's only because the jars were small. This recipe will easily fit in a pint-sized mason jar.
By the by, do you know the difference between jam vs. jelly vs. preserves?
Jelly is strictly made from fruit juice. The fruit mixture is cooked, and then the fruit is strained out. Jam on the other hand is made with all of the fruit. Jam and preserves are technically the same thing. It seems people tend to call a fruit spread a "preserve" if the fruit is crushed but there are large chunks in the spread. Jam tends to be a term reserved for a spread where the fruit chunks are smaller and mashed more evenly into the spread.
Now you know :-)
So, I got all my fruit out. FYI- I know I said I had 4 nectarines, but I bought a couple fresh ones for the pictures.
Yes, so, I had my nectarines. I had my blackberries.
For this spread, I peeled the nectarines and chopped them up. I also felt like I didn't have enough blackberries, so I added some frozen. I added some sugar and some lemon juice, and away I went!
I cooked the mixture for about 25 minutes. The fruit begins to break down and the mixture becomes really thick. So thick in fact, that it will coat the back of a spoon. That's how you know it's done.
I poured the mixture into jars and allowed them to cool.
And just like that, we have preserves :-)
A jar of this should last at least 3 weeks in the fridge. Alas, mine did not last that long as I used a cup of it to try to make a frosting that failed (more on that later!).
And that was the end of the preserves. Womp womp :-(
Oh, I fully plan on making more this summer. Only with local farmer's market fruit, and LOTS more of it!
I truly have Spring Fever folks. Yesterday, the hubby and I received our wildflower mixes in the mail. I want to plant them now! With our weather here though, patience is a virtue. Plus, the area where we are going to plant the wildflowers is a mess. Fallen trees, wild weedy shrubs, and branches everywhere. Not to mention, the soil needs to be tilled. We are hoping to get the area cleared out this weekend with the help of the hubby's dad. One of our big purchases this Spring is going to be a tiller, so we still need to get that too. I'm hoping the area is cleared by around the 15th so we can plant those flowers. After all, the bees will be here a month after that and we want to make sure they have some food! Something tells me it's going to be a busy weekend :-)
That's it for me today! Have a great Thursday everyone!
Ingredients (makes ~1 pint):
4 nectarines, pit removed, peeled and chopped
3/4- 1 cup blackberries
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice
1. Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan over medium heat. Cook for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally. As you stir, try to mash some of the fruit roughly with your spoon. Preserves are done when the mixture thickly coats the back of a spoon.
2. Pour preserves into jars and allow to cool completely before storing in the fridge. Preserves will store for up to 3 weeks.
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