Stone fruit season came early to BC this year – cherries! nectarines! peaches! apricots (and soon, plums too ). Now, I know that we all dream of the canned fruit the way your grandmother or father used to make (it was my grandpa who did all the canning) – the perfectly sliced peaches and apricot halves floating in golden sugar-syrup, ready to be doled out after dinner as a dessert…. but I just don’t can that way (or use fruit as a snack). In fact, I try to do as little as possible when it comes to putting up for the winter – and that means no perfectly sliced or pitted peaches. When it comes to fruit that can easily be stirred into plain yogurt or oatmeal, and sometimes added to pancake batter – it really doesn’t matter what it looks like – it just has to taste like fruit (not sugar) and come in bite-sized chunks. What follows is my foolproof fruit recipe – I use this every year to put up enough for a jar per week in the winter. Yesterday I put up 40 of those jars which means I’ve got some more work to do in the near future (applesauce probably, perhaps some kind of plummy jam). You can adjust this to the actual amounts you might use:
2o pounds nectarines or peaches
2 cups of water
2 cups of honey (or more to taste)
spices (I use about 15 anise stars for the nectarines, 10 small cinnamon sticks for the peaches)
Wash and rough chop fruit, leaving peel on (discard the pits) . Throw it into a big (very big) pot with the honey, water and spice – bring to a boil on medium temperature, stirring every once and awhile. Ladle into jars and process (12 minutes for 1/2 pints, 20 minutes for pints). This recipe will make 12 1/2 pints plus 8-12 pints (depending on how much fruit comes off the pit) – so plan on two full canner batches.
And voila! Much fruit to put by without too much effort – it’s even better when your partner cuts the fruit for you beforehand (thanks Brian!)