Saturday, August 15, 2015


Sixteen One-Pint Jars of Vanilla-Pluot Preserves

Today was preserves day. A long and arduous task. Cutting five pounds of pluots (with five more pounds to go!!), then trying to balance the right amount of sugar, lemon juice, water and a vanilla pod (thank you, Gypsy). Cookbooks are hopeless on the subject.There is no lack of interesting recipes, but they are short on technique. Don't look to YouTube. I watched in astonishment as a woman demonstrated making her plum jam, which wasn't not going well. "Oh well, I'll just add pectin, which I would prefer to avoid. She had been given a large amount of plums and had some knowledge of making preserves, but this is a rather precise kind of work, and it deserves less "personality" and more tutorial. I'd love to find a large guide to making jams, jellies and preserves (conserves too) that offer a wide variety of fruits with suggestions for combinations, and with recipes for various amounts of fruit (small batch, medium and large batches that take advantage of the season). 

Peaches and nectarines have nothing on the color palette of Pluots!

Pluots are absolutely gorgeous. Many had a real ruby center, but others had a yellow center showing their apricot origins. With a canning kettle for boiling the filled jars (10 minutes for each five jars), sterilizing the jars, lids and caps, the cutting of the fruit (I will cut the rest of the fruit and freeze it for gallettes this fall and winter), cooking and skimming the foam that invariably rises to the top, this project took up three very concentrated hours. 

The yellow foam that rose to the top of the fruit as it was cooking has to be skimmed from the top, otherwise, it will cloud the finished preserves. 

So six jars of jam (from yesterday), sixteen of preserves made today, I'm done with jam-making this season. The pear tree gave no fruit this season after several of seasons of good yield. By then the pears should get back to producing fruit. And then I'll make pear butter.

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