Whoa. All you bloggers- not to mention store owners- are really kicking in the fall stuff quick, huh? I’m sorry guys- I can’t do it. It’s still hot and while I love fall… I mean, I really LOVE fall… I just can’t do Halloween stuff or hardcore fall recipes in late August, or even the beginning of September. Gross. I’m still eating grilled hot dogs and fresh corn and hanging out in my backyard! I have plenty of time to make apple (and the ever beloved pumpkin) themed desserts and treats. There will be more than enough of that in October. And November. But for now, no. It’s still summer for God’s sake!
But what I can do is make a summery (or end of summer…y) fruit into a fall-appropriate jam. Because it is coming, and when it does won’t it be nice to have a few jars of summer mixed with a little fall? That’s how we have this jam; spiced nectarine. Spiced with vanilla bean, star anise and cinnamon. And actually a little bit of nutmeg, cardamom, powdered honey and ginger, too, because I used a “sweet blend” spice mix I bought from a local spicery at a fair last summer.
It’s basically a way to start to acknowledge fall without going crazy for apples (yet).
These nectarines are the last of what’s left from my most recent shipment of Washington State Fruit. My “Canbassadorship” is coming to and end for this year, and I wanted to make a jam that was easy and didn’t require something like purple basil that not everyone has.
Feel free to substitute your own favorite spices. I know star anise can be polarizing, like licorice. Use cardamom instead. Or ginger. Or nutmeg. Or just add in a teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice! That way you get a little bit of everything.
I wouldn’t omit the vanilla bean, though. Not only does it smell heavenly, but it adds those little flecks to the jam that look pretty cool.
SPICED NECTARINE JAM
- 6 cups chopped nectarines
- 3 cups sugar
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice (or the juice of one medium lemon)
- the “caviar” of 1 vanilla bean, scraped
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon/nutmeg/cardamom OR 1 teaspoon mixed spices i.e. “Pumpkin pie spice”
- 1 star anise pod (or “star”) *OPTIONAL
- Cook nectarines, sugar, star anise, vanilla caviar and lemon juice for 30 minutes at a medium-low boil. Stir occasionally.
- After 30 minutes, add the spices and stir to combine. Cook for 5 minutes more.
- Fish out the star anise pod and throw it away.
- Skim foam off jam and ladle into prepared jars. Wipe rims, add lids and bands. Process in a waterbath for 10 minutes. When cooled, after 12 hours, check seal and refrigerate any jars that haven’t sealed.
One thing I should mention: do NOT peel your nectarines! The naturally occurring pectin in the skin is why you don’t need to use any additional commercial pectin in this recipe. They are not peaches; there is no need to peel them. The skins just kind of cook down and you don’t even notice them. If there are some still floating around in there, you won’t mind them.
It’s so easy to make jam with nectarines (like blueberries) simply because of the fact that they don’t need extra pectin. They also are so versatile that they’re excellent with basil just as much as they are with cinnamon and spices. You can throw just about anything into a nectarine jam and it’s almost guaranteed to be delicious no matter what.
They also smell like heaven. I know I said that already, but its so true.
I used every single fruit that was sent to me this year! In previous years, one or two pieces were either too soft to use or bruised by the time they arrived. This year, not one piece of fruit went to waste. Every piece was at the height of freshness. All in all, between my cherry shipment and the peaches/nectarines, I made: cherries in syrup, cherry sauce, green tea + jasmine cherry preserves, Pimm’s No. 1 Cup mini-cherry pies, Bachelor’s jam (can’t wait to crack that open come winter!), triple stone fruit breakfast crisp, peach salsa (I posted the recipe 2 years ago but make it every year), ‘Ring of Fire’ peach & pepper jam, nectarine blackberry preserves with purple ruffled basil, canned nectarine slices in apple juice (as per the Food In Jars recipe), and of course, this spiced nectarine jam. And… to take things further- not even the peach peels went to waste! This year I made peach peel butter with apple brandy and vanilla beans (as opposed to last year’s bourbon version). So not an ounce of anything, literally, was wasted. The two lone straggler nectarines were sliced and eaten raw and/or went on top of a Creme Patisserie.
If, like me, you’ve been canning & preserving up a storm this season, 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, cute labels & FAQ’s.