March 24, 2007

fruit puddles

With leftover fresh fruit common in this house, not being avid fruit lovers as we are, I decided to journey to the some-what tedious land of jam. My first attempt at this turned out to be fairly satisfying and I am now convinced of my jam making abilities. Of course canning these babies was not in the itinerary and so maybe I have much to learn. Regardless, a little experimenting is always necessary in any recipe, thus the addition of vanilla extract.
My first attempt at a fruit experiment happened at eight years old with a food mill
and some peeled, quarter, cored, uncooked apples. I don't recall the outcome of the episode, but it probably wasn't edible.
In this case I used plums and nectarines that were slightly overripe, which made chopping and peeling them slightly more of a challenge, as the flesh beneath the skin was very slippery. I recommend perfectly ripe fruit for easiest production.

Plum jam
1 1/4 C peeled and chopped plums (2 plums)
3/4 C white sugar
3/4 T lemon juice
1 t vanilla extract (optional)

Cook all ingredients at mild boil (less than medium) for 20 minutes. The consistency I found to be perfect at 20 minutes. The vanilla prominently enhances the flavour of the fruit and was the favourite on the breakfast table.

Nectarine jam
1 1/2 C peeled and chopped nectarines (2 nectarines)
1 C white sugar
1 T lemon juice
1 t vanilla extract (optional)

Cook all ingredients at a mild boil (less than medium) for 25 minutes. 30 minutes I found to make the jam a little thicker than desired and I would recommend 25-27 minutes followed by a blitz in the food processor to get rid of the chunks (which I find undesirable.) The vanilla drastically deepens the flavour of the nectarine and brings out the tartness in the fruit.

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