My friend Katie has become the canning conniosseur in my life and we’ve gotten ourselves silly with stickiness on numerous canning projects over the past year here in California. Something that she and I have in common is enthusiasm for tantalizing produce from the farmers market that oftentimes inspires our canning projects. We both adore Inzana Ranch’s fruit and nut stand at the Monterey and Pacific Grove Farmer’s markets. Its one of the best we’ve ever encountered and we both look forward to Tony and Joye Inzana‘s friendly smiles and colorful delicious selection of almonds, grapes, apples, asian pears, apricots, figs, persimmons, kiwis, walnuts and peaches as the seasons change.
Their bright juicy clingstone nectarines inspired Katie to get creative preserving some nectarines for the coming Winter. Clingstone nectarines are the type that have the flesh attached to the seed in the middle. We’re not sure what variety of clingstones they are, perhaps August Glo, or one of the twenty-one other varieties Inzana Ranch cultivates according to their California producer certificate . She bought about 7 pounds of them which we brought up to Search Ranch, our friends Marie and Jim’s homestead up in Carmel Valley. Katie got the idea to make a light honey syrup from Search Ranch’s own hives instead of boring old sugar from Jordan at Happy Girl Kitchen in Pacific Grove.
With Marie and Jim in their farmhouse style kitchen last Saturday morning, we kicked off an action packed weekend as we chopped, heated and properly preserved these gorgeous symbols of Summer into jars. We learned from the Joy of Cooking that preserving stone fruits in a light syrup requires about 3 parts water to 1 part sugar, and we knew Happy Girl Kitchen’s cherry jubilee consists of a very light honey solution (10:1 ratio) for preserving sweet bing cherries. We tasted the nectarines and Katie knew this fruit would turn out best with a slightly sweeter syrup since a lot of them were a little tart yet.
So here is how we did it:
- 1/2 cup honey
- 4 cups + 1/2 cup of water
- 7 pounds of nectarines (about 15 cups)
- juice of half a fresh lemon
- 1 bunch of mint, de-stemmed
We sliced the nectarines in uniform slices and squeezed fresh lemon juice all over to prevent oxidation. We chopped the mint leaves and set aside.
We then prepared the syrup, heating the 4 cups of water and honey in a pot slowly while stirring until it completely dissolved. When it came to a gentle boil, the heat was turned down and it simmered for a while staying hot while we sterilized the jars and lids.
We heated the nectarines in a pot with a 1/2 cup water just until they got hot, stirring around a little so they heated evenly.
We filled the sterilized jars with nectarine slices and chopped mint, then poured the hot syrup over the fruit to the point where the fruit was completely covered. Just before covering with sterilized lids and boiling the jars we stirred the jars to removed extra air.
Voila, the taste of California Summer to enjoy from a jar all winter long…
Originally posted on The Fresh Dish