Generally, I am a berry lover through and through, but a ripe, juicy nectarine can make me swoon. A relative to the peach, it contains all the best features of the peach we know and love, but there's more. I don't know how to explain it. They surpass peaches...way past. In fact, for the last week, I've had this chorus stuck in my head...
living reflection from a dream
I was her love, she was my queen
and now a thousand years between
* original lyrics by Led Zeppelin use "tangerine" (I didn't always listen to kid's praise CDs). Okay, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Neither does love sometimes.
Last year, we ate a ton of these babies fresh and semi-dried (and then froze) the rest. They were good dried, but we decided to try canning them this year. A friend of mine insists she gets fabulous results canning them (like you do peaches) with their skins on. After all, you eat the skins when you eat them fresh. And canning them without having to peel them (unlike their pesky cousins, the peaches), sounded a bit like a vacation.
I think it's time I get away.
Well, lo and be behold, my Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving has a recipe with this exact method. We used the same extra light syrup we used when canning peaches and it was almost like a vacation. I mean really. The pits pop out beautifully. There were very few blemishes to cut out (like 5, in the whole bushel). There are no skins to remove. They pack like a dream. Am I getting a little too excited about this?
The bizarre thing about canning nectarines is that they change color in the hot water bath. They turn from a beautiful reddish yellow (above) to a peach-like color with pinkish water (below).
We opened a jar a few days after canning and they are wonderful. The consistency is that of a peach. I had heard they are softer than canned peaches, but three days out, there is no difference. The skins become softer. You hardly know they're there. Next year, we're canning way more nectarines and way less peaches.
They're that easy- one more reason to love them.
Read this post FIRST on proper canning practices.
Update 5/22/11: A commenter below mentioned that when her mom canned nectarines, they turned brown after about 6 months. I was watching for this, but ours did not. They kept just fine and we are still eating them:-).
Wash ripe nectarines well. Quarter and remove pits. Do not peel. Pack into hot, sterilized quart jars, pit side down, tapping the jar on the counter gently to help settle the nectarines. Add hot sugar syrup (recipe below). Keep the nectarines and syrup below the neck/thread of the jars. Top with hot lids, then ring. Process in a hot water bath of boiling water for 30 minutes.
One recipe above is enough for about 4 quarts. Please ignore my pencil markings.Pin It