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White Nectarine, Berry and Plum Conserve

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Stone fruit is is still very plentiful although the season is drawing to a close. It’s difficult to believe that we are technically in autumn in Sydney, as the days are balmy and temperatures still very warm.

White Nectarine, Berry and Plum Conserve

I used my standard plum jam recipe, substituting white nectarines for most of the plums. I added a handful of mixed berries for colour.

This preserve is more “conserve” than “jam”, as the fruit pieces remain whole in the jelly.

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Ingredients

400 gms white nectarines
100 gms blood plums
Sugar
100 gms mixed berries (frozen are fine – I used frozen in this recipe)
Half a lemon – juice + skin


Method


Chop the nectarines and plums and remove the stones.  Add the frozen berries. Measure the fruit and add sugar equal to 3/4 of the amount.

Put the fruit into a preserving pan with the juice of half a lemon plus the lemon skin.  Cook slowly for about 25-30 minutes, stirring frequently, until setting point is reached.

Test for a set by placing a little jam on a saucer in the freezer for a couple of minutes. The surface should be set and wrinkle when pushed with a finger. If the jam is not set, return the pan to the heat and cook for a further few minutes until setting point is reached.

Remove the lemon half and pour the jam into sterilized jars and seal.

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Plum, Raisin and Walnut Jam with Lemon Slices

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Raisins and walnuts make this plum jam sticky, sweet, and crunchy – almost a paste, and wonderful with sourdough, whole grain toast or crumpets. Great with butter or creme fraiche – I had the jam on Sonoma sourdough with creme fraiche.

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I make lots of jams all year round but summer is great for berries and stone fruit. Strawberries, raspberries, apricots and plums all make fantastic jam and conserves.

Plums are so full of pectin that setting point is easily reached. Blood rums, with their ruby red colour, make beautiful jam. This jam is based on a plum jam from Jams, Jellies and Marmalades by Margaret O’Sullivan. Her recipe uses orange slices but being “orangeless” today I substituted lemon slices instead – equally delicious!

Ingredients

500 gms blood plums
Sugar
100 gms raisins
Half a lemon, cut into very fine slices, then quartered
100 gms walnuts, chopped


Method


Chop the plums and remove the stones. Measure the plums and raisins and lemon slices and add sugar equal to 3/4 of the amount. 
 You will need to boil the lemon slices for about 10 minutes in water to soften  – if you don’t mind a little crunch, just add as is to the plums and raisins.

Put plums, raisins and lemon slices into a preserving pan and cook slowly for about 20-30 minutes, stirring frequently, until setting point is reached.

Test for a set by placing a little jam on a saucer in the freezer for a couple of minutes. The surface should be set and wrinkle when pushed with a finger. If the jam is not set, return the pan to the heat and cook for a further few minutes until setting point is reached.

Stir in the chopped walnuts. Pour into sterilized jars and seal.

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Strawberry Conserve

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This recipe from my mother was my first attempt at jam making. I’m not sure who developed this version, but the jam is sensational as it is slightly tart, having only half the sugar of other recipes. As strawberries have a high pectin content, it sets well.

It’s really a conserve, as the fruit is kept whole. Conserves are a form of preserving in which whole fruit is suspended in jelly. I find berries make great conserves.

My mother noted: “do not make large quantities  – 2 pounds (1kilo) of strawberries is the maximum to be made at the one time”.

I’ve been making this conserve for ages and it’s always scrumptious.

Ingredients

500gms strawberries
250gms sugar
Juice of 1 lemon

Method

Hull the strawberries and put into a china or plastic basin (not metal).  Cover with the sugar and leave for several hours or overnight.

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Add lemon juice and gently stir the mixture to make sure all the sugar is dissolved.

Transfer to a large saucepan and boil briskly, testing for setting point regularly. When setting point* is reached – about 25 to 30 minutes, remove pan from the stove. Ladle carefully into sterilised jars and leave to cool.

Note: use a wooden spoon and do not stir vigorously so that the berries are kept mostly intact.

*Testing for setting point
While the jam is cooking, place a small saucer in the freezer to thoroughly chill (about 5 minutes). When you think the jam may have reached setting point, remove the saucer form the freezer, place a teaspoonful of jam on it, put back in the freezer for 3 or 4 minutes. If the jam has a jelly-like consistency or a crinkly skin has formed on the sample, the jam is ready.

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