Monday, September 5, 2011

Nectarine Preserves with Basil

There is so much great fruit available at the local farmers' markets right now.  But summer will be ending soon and with that soon all the delicious summer fruit will be gone.  Make some delicious preserves and have something to remind you of the delicious flavors of summer on those cold winter days.  Canning jars can be found at Fishs Eddy, near Union Square, or online at Amazon.com.  Or you can just use any left over jam jars you just happen to have around.  Pectin is a little harder to find in the city.  We found some at the Fifth Avenue Key Food Supermarket in Park Slope (between Sterling Place and Baltic Street) in the baking aisle.  You can also order it online from Amazon.com.

 
We used Thai basil and a mix of nectarines and peaches from Red Jacket Orchards

Ingredients

  • 4 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup fresh basil sprigs plus 8 small sprigs for tucking into jars
  • 5 lb nectarines or peaches, peeled and each cut into 8 wedges
  • 1 (1 3/4-oz) box plus 2 tablespoons lower-sugar powdered pectin
  • Special equipment: 8 (1/2-pint) canning jars with lids and screw bands; a candy thermometer

Directions


Bring sugar, lemon juice, water, and 1 cup basil to a boil in a 5- to 6-quart heavy pot, stirring, until sugar is dissolved. Simmer over moderately low heat until thick and syrupy, about 25 minutes. Discard basil with a slotted spoon. 

Add nectarines to syrup and bring to a rolling boil over moderately high heat, then boil, uncovered, stirring frequently, 5 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer nectarines with slotted spoon to a sieve set over a bowl to catch juice. Drain nectarines 5 minutes, then add juice from bowl to juice in pot.
Drain jars upside down on a clean kitchen towel 1 minute, then invert. Divide nectarines among jars with slotted spoon. Tuck a fresh basil sprig into side of each jar.

Return juice in pot to a rolling boil, skimming off any foam. Continue to boil until juice registers 220 to 224°F on thermometer, 7 to 10 minutes. Gradually add pectin, whisking constantly. Return juice to a rolling boil, then boil, skimming off any foam, 1 minute. 

Ladle juice into jars, leaving 1/4 inch of space at top, then run a thin knife between fruit and jar to eliminate air bubbles.

Seal, process, and store filled jars , boiling preserves in jars 10 minutes. 

Let preserves stand in jars at least 1 day for flavors to develop.

Recipe originally appeared at epicurious.com.

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