When I think of summer fruits, stone fruits are what come to mind. Cherries, Peaches, Plums, Nectarines, and Apricots are all stone fruit, and all absolutely delicious. There is nothing like biting into a nice big, ripe, perfectly sweet and juicy nectarine. Wait…Nectarine or Peach? The battle lines have been drawn; I am firmly in the nectarine camp. It’s nothing against the flavor of the peach, I do love peaches, and use them often (watch for a peach recipe coming weeks). However when it comes to eating a plain fresh peach or nectarine, give me the nectarine please. I guess it’s the peach fuzz that I just cannot stand. If the fruit is peeled first, then I’ve no objections to a peach. If that fuzzy skin is going to stay, then I’m out. That said, if you prefer peaches, you could easily make this jam using peaches instead. If you use the white nectarine variety I suggest you use a little less sugar, as they are sweeter.
This jam is pectin free. There is an ample amount of natural pectin to be found in the nectarine skin, which results in a nice soft set to the jam. Pectin has it’s purpose, and it’s place; just not in this jam. A pectin made jam has a jello quality to it. You could cut it up into little jello type cubes and it will hold it’s shape. You have to smash it into the bread to spread because it wants to hold it’s shape, not lovingly coat your bread in flavor. A pectin free jam on the other hand has a mind of it’s own. It spreads slowly across your bread, filling any nooks, and you don’t have to smash your bread to get a nice coating. I think I’m coming to prefer the pectin free jams, but as my husband prefers the pectin type I’ll make both.
I used the food processor to chop up the nectarines into a fine dice, you don’t want to liquify them entirely unless you want a jelly. You can still see some of the chunks in the jam, just the way I like it. If you don’t have a food processor, dice the nectarines into 1/2″ pieces simmer for a few minutes then take a potato masher too them.
Look at those jars, aren’t they beautiful? The nectarine puree started out a very pale pinkish yellow, made me think of a peach smoothie in color. Once the fruit skins had a chance to simmer down, their darker color bled through and turned this jam into a gorgeous ruby color. I’m tempted to just keep one jar on the shelf for looks… but I don’t think it will last long.
Makes 9 cups (4 & 1/2 pints)
- 4 pounds nectarines pitted roughly chopped
- 3 1/2 cups sugar
- 3 Tbsp fresh Lemon Juice
1) Once nectarines are pitted and roughly chopped, pulse them a few times in the food processor to get the size chunk you want in your jam.
2) Place all ingredients in pot and slowly bring to a simmer. Stirring frequently allow to simmer for 30 minutes until desired consistency is reached. To test thickness, place small spoonful on chilled plate, and run your finger through the jam. If the jam does not run to immediately fill the void it is set.
3) Pour into hot sterilized jars and process for 10 minutes in water bath canner. Let sit for 12 hours before handling.