Published on February 18th, 2012 | by Gareth2
Nectarine and Vanilla Jam
Biting into a succulent ripe nectarine is a truly satisfying experience. For some reason when I think of nectarines and peaches they conjure up visions of Romans lounging about eating segments of the fruit whilst musing over scantily clad dancing girls. A sweet nectarine is pure indulgence…and is best enjoyed wearing a toga. I think I should stop watching Spartacus.
What better then, than to combine a glut of these magnificent fruit with another very decedent ingredient; vanilla! Instead of making a sophisticated tart or a heavy cake I opted for something far simpler and made jam. I have always enjoyed jam and wanted to capture my childhood memories of coming home from school and enjoying a slice of bread and jam before running out to play in the sun (as I grew up in England, it was probably more like play in the rain though). The result is a jam so velvety smooth it’s almost creamy in texture. Nectarine and vanilla jam is bread and jam for grown ups.
- 1 kg white or yellow nectarines
- 800gm raw sugar
- Juice of ½ lemon
- 2 vanilla pods
- Jam setter (optional)
- Steralise the jam jars by washing them in hot soapy water, rinse, drain then put them in the oven for 10 minutes at 150 degrees.
- Wash and peel the nectarines. You can blanche them but I find peeling is less messy with soft stone fruit.
- Put the nectarines in a large heavy saucepan. You are supposed to use a preserving pan but I used a 7 ltr stock pot.
- Add the lemon juice, cover with the pan lid and put over a medium heat for 5 minutes.
- Add the sugar and remove the lid. Allow the sugar to melt slowly.
- Once the sugar has melted add the vanilla pods and stir. Reduce the heat and simmer until the fruit has softened.
- Once the nectarine flesh begins to easily come away from the stone increase the heat as high as possible and boil for 5 minutes.
- Stir occasionally but take care not to get splashed as you will get a nasty burn.
- Remove the pan from heat and test the jam is ready by putting a teaspoon of jam on a cold plate and leave to cool. If the jam has set it will crease when you push a finger through it. If it has not set return the pan to the heat. At this point I sometimes add extra pectin by using powdered Jam Setter (available form the supermarket).
- Once set remove from heat and spoon into jars, put the lids on immediately and leave to cool.
- Serve with fresh bread or on toast.