Saturday, July 19, 2014

Stone fruit (really) small-batch jam

We're not big jam-eaters around here. At least not to the point where I need to preserve huge batches of the stuff.

But sometimes jam happens. In really small batches. Just enough for a jar to stash in the refrigerator. Because, really, that's about enough.

Not only do we not use enough jam to make large batches sensible, I like to flit from flavor to flavor, depending on what fruit is in season or what I'm in the mood for.

Recently, it was stone fruit I wanted to preserve. I had a few angelcots that were just slightly ripe. And then there were a couple mango nectarines that were bruised and wouldn't have lasted long enough for me to devour.

Mango nectarine (left) and three angelcots.
I got both of them from Frieda's Specialty Produce, a company I like to think of as the world's quirkiest CSA. They send me stuff and sometimes I write about it. Most of the things they send are unusual. Like the angelcots. They're a cross between apricots and angelfish.

No, that can't be right ...

I guess what they really are is white apricots that are really sweet and delicious. I ate most of them as soon as they arrived, but I had a few left over when the mango nectarines landed. To me, the nectarines didn't taste like mangoes, but the color inside was the color of a mango. So there ya go.

After blanching, peeling, pit-removal, and chopping, I had about a cup of fruit. Not nearly enough for a traditional batch of jam, but just enough to play with.

Angelcot and Nectarine Jam

1 cup peeled, pitted and chopped nectarines and apricots
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon lime juice
1 teaspoon instant pectin
2 tablespoons water
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

To make peeling easier, blanch the fruit - dunk them in boiling water, then plunge into cold water. The peels will slip off easily.

Add the fruit, sugar, lime juice, pectin, water, and salt to a saucepan. Cook, stirring as needed, until the sugar dissolves, the fruit breaks up, and the mixture thickens. Very ripe fruit will turn to mush fairly quickly, while less ripe fruit will hold its shape a little better. Whether you want it all smooth or a little chunky is up to you.

Taste (let it cool a bit on the spoon before you sample) and add more sugar, if you like. I wanted a jam that was tart, so I didn't add more. Cook just long enough to let your additional sugar dissolve.

Take the jam off the heat, add the vanilla extract, and stir to combine. Transfer to a jar or other container and refrigerate.

I thought this was particularly good dabbed on toast along with a bit of cream cheese. It would also be a great filling for thumbprint cookies.
Small batch stone fruit jam