As I got toward the end of the nectarine harvest, I knew I had to come up with something to preserve these amazingly sweet little fruits. Yes, they were great to eat raw and made for some yummy desserts, but we were getting a little nectarined-out. Not to mention that I want to be able to enjoy some of the fruity goodness come winter. (That may sound strange considering I live in California where some kind of fruit is usually available - citrus at a minimum. But having lived in New England for the first 30 years of my life, I can't imagine anything other than a long, cold winter. It will be interesting to see how I feel about it after the first winter here!)
So, I decided to make a nectarine jam. And on my way to the store to get pectin, I passed a sign for a strawberry stand and decided we needed to add some of those, too!
The result was a naturally sweet (but not overly sugary) jam that's wonderful on freshly made bread and heated up and drizzle over ice cream. (That's what I've tried it on so far!)
I ended up having enough fruit to make a big batch - 8 jars in total. And because I wanted to can my creation, I followed the directions for 100% nectarine jam to ensure there would be enough acidity. (Strawberry jam doesn't require added acidity in the form of lemon juice - but peach/nectarine jam does.) Here's the recipe I came up with courtesy of the guidelines on the Ball® low/no-sugar needed pectin bottle:
Strawberry Nectarine Jam
(Makes 8, 8-ounce jars)
5 cups peeled, pitted and chopped nectarines
2 1/2 cups hulled and chopped strawberries
4 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 1/3 c. water
6 Tbsp. low/no-sugar needed pectin
1-1 1/2 c. sugar
Sterilize canning jars and hold jars and lids in a hot water bath until jam is ready.
In a separate large pot (at least 8 quart), combine chopped nectarines, strawberries and lemon juice.
Mash with a potato masher until mixture is only slightly chunky.
Add water and pectin. Bring to a rolling boil that can't be stirred away. Skim off any foam that rises to the top.
Add sugar until jam reaches desired sweetness. (I added between 1 and 1 1/2 cups - you can add up to 3 cups, if desired.
Continue boiling for 1 full minute. Then cover and remove jam from heat.
Carefully remove jars and lids from hot water bath.
Ladle jam into jars, filling to within 1/4" of the top of the jar. Cover each jar with a lid and metal band.
Once all jars are filled, return them to the hot water bath. The jars should be covered with at least 1" of water.
Cover canning pot and bring to a gentle, but steady boil. Boil for 10 minutes (longer at altitudes above 1,000 feet). Turn off heat and let jars sit 5 minutes. Carefully remove from water and allow to cool. After 24 hours, check your lids to make sure jars are fully sealed. (Unsealed jars can be refrigerated. The jam should be used within a few weeks.)