I’ve been posting about being a “Canbassador” for the Washington State Fruit Commission quite a bit this summer. First it was cherries, I recovered a gigantic box of gorgeous straight from the orchard Rainier Fruit Co. cherries and I made some awesome recipes with them- I even managed to bake up some delicious mini-pies and make a sauce with them! Then, I got a second huge shipment of a mix of yellow peaches and gorgeous yellow nectarines. They were so beautiful sitting in bowls around my kitchen/dining room.
Then I bought some blackberries on sale because they were beautiful and perfect and cheap. I do that sometimes. I have no idea what I’m going to do with them, but I buy them.
Then I realized the color of blackberries kind of matches my “Purple Ruffles” basil beautifully, and I thought this combined with nectarines would be an amazing jam/preserve combination. This particular basil has a bit of an anise-licorice-cinnamon flavor in addition to an amazing color. I have enough of it to spare in my garden, so I ripped off some leaves to tear up and add to the preserves.
Nectarine skins have a naturally occurring amount of pectin that makes them perfect for jamming with the skins on. I don’t know why more people don’t know that, or at least talk about it. When I was a newbie “canner” I would’ve liked that info. Instead of hearing “treat them just like peaches” which to me means “skin them.” Doh.
You may be asking: what exactly makes these preserves and not a jam? To which I say, the fact that the fruit is chunkier. That’s the easy answer. With jam, the chunks are smaller, so they’re usually incorporated more and blended down further, creating a more spreadable consistency; whereas preserves have larger chunks of fruit. However if you prefer the former, just cut your nectarine pieces smaller! For a more in-depth answer about all of this, check out this article on SeriousEats.
Or skip all that mumbo jumbo and make some preserves. Or jam.
NECTARINE BLACKBERRY PRESERVES WITH PURPLE RUFFLES BASIL
Makes roughly 4-5 half-pints (8-oz)
- 6 cups roughly chopped nectarines- not too small, leave ’em on the larger side
- 6 ounces fresh blackberries
- 3 cups granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 4 – 5 leaves purple basil, washed and dried
- Sterilize your jars and get them ready to be filled on a clean, dry tea towel.
- Add all ingredients but basil & blackberries to a large, wide saucepan. In a separate large bowl, using a potato masher, mash the blackberries gently to crush them slightly. You just want them a bit deconstructed, don’t go too crazy trying to mash them all into tiny bits. Then add them to the saucepan with the rest of the fruit.
- Cook at a low, steady boil for 30 minutes. Add torn or chopped basil leaves, cook for another 5 minutes.
- Ladle into clean sterilized jars to within 1/4″ headspace. Wipe rims, add lids and bands to fingertip tight.
- Process in a water bath for 10 minutes. Check seals after 12 hours; any jars that wiggle or click when pressed aren’t sealed and must be put in the refrigerator and eaten immediately.
These preserves are perfection. You get these little surprise bits of basil here & there, and the flavor of it is so incredibly subtle throughout that you wouldn’t even know it was there- until you get a piece of it. And before anyone asks: you can definitely substitute peaches, but you’ll need to peel them and also add commercial pectin.
I also used my snazzy new jar labels from Ikea! They’re so cute, and they let you circle the date, plus there’s room for writing on there what’s in it. I also got some other labels from there that you’ll probably see on the blog at one point or another. Go Ikea! I’m already planning another trip over there to pick up some more.
If you, too, have been canning up a storm so far this summer, or you plan to be, add the Sweet Preservation “Of Course I Canned!” badge to your blog. Click here to view & save the file, then add it. Also be sure to visit SweetPreservation.com for MORE recipes & FAQ’s.