Thursday, August 16, 2012


Greeks are not the type of people who have large breakfasts and I'm a typical Greek in that respect. Give me a bowl of cereal or a couple of slices of bread with some honey or jam and I'm ready to face the day.

I don't particularly enjoy store-bought jams and marmalades, perhaps because they're always too sweet or lack the pure, deep taste of fruit and really, what else do you want from a jam but that unadulterated flavor of your favorite fruit?

That's one of the reasons why I prefer to make my own. This summer, I made a strawberry jam, which I make every year and of which, naturally, I'm already out, and then this one, nectarine jam, whose beautiful flavor was a huge surprise to me.

I have never made nectarine jam before, nor have I ever considered making it, but when I came across some juicy nectarines at the market, I couldn't control myself. I started thinking of all the desserts I could put them in and then it dawned on me. Jam, why not make jam?

It was a brilliant idea that yielded the most delicious, rich jam I have ever made. Thick and sweet but in a good way, with subtle notes of lemon, it was splendid slathered over a fresh loaf of bread, over a warm, flaky croissant bought at my neighborhood bakery, spread on my favorite classic waffles, or on a biscuit-type cake that I made not too long ago and which I plan to share with you hopefully on my next post.

I have been reconsidering my relationship with early morning breakfasts lately. Now that they involve this jam that is.

Nectarine Jam

It's preferable to use nectarines that are not too firm and unripe otherwise they'll take a longer time to soften and they'll need more sugar. Opt for juicy, plump, sweet nectarines that will give more flavor and aroma to your jam. Be careful not to use nectarines that are too soft and overripe.

You'll need 1 kilogram of nectarines for the jam so you should buy about 1.3 kg whole nectarines.

Yield: about 1 liter (3 medium jars)

1 kg fresh, ripe nectarines (weight after stoning and peeling them)
900* g caster sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 lemon (about 60 ml), freshly squeezed

*Use about 100 g less if your nectarines are very sweet

Special equipment: large, deep, heavy-bottomed pan, glass jars with lids, potato masher (optional)

Peel the nectarines, remove the stones and cut them into small pieces. Make sure to do all that over the pan you're going to use, in order to catch all of the fruit's precious juices.

You can either peel the nectarines using a small and sharp knife, as I usually do, but you can also blanch them. By blanching them, you'll save all those little pieces of flesh that tend to stick on the skin.

How to blanch nectarines: Bring a large pot of water to the boil and add the nectarines. Blanch for 30 seconds, remove them with a slotted spoon and immediately immerse them in a pan filled with ice cubes and water to stop them from cooking. Once they're cool enough to handle, peel them with the help of a knife. The skin will detach from the flesh of the fruit very easily.

Add the nectarine pieces to your pan followed by the sugar. Place over a medium-high heat and stir continuously with a heatproof spatula until the sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil and add the lemon zest and juice. Turn heat up to high and boil vigorously for 10 minutes. At this point, the jam will become very bubbly and foamy. Turn heat down to low and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring frequently so the jam doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan.
As the jam simmers, remove the scum that forms on top with a metal spoon.
In the end, the nectarines should have broken down and the jam should be, well, jammy (not glue-like). If large chunks of fruit still remain, mash them gently with a potato masher or a fork.

You can check if the jam is ready by doing the following: Put a small plate in the freezer for 5 minutes. Take it out and spoon a little of the jam on it. Leave to cool for 1 minute and then push the jam with your finger; the top should wrinkle. If not, boil a couple of minutes longer and test it again. Keep in mind though that once the jam cools, it will thicken.

Allow the jam to cool for 30 minutes, empty it into sterilized jars and turn the jars upside down. (Read here on how to sterilize glass jars). Once the jam has cooled completely, put the jars in the refrigerator.
The jam will keep for several weeks in the fridge.

If you want to store or preserve the jam, take a hot sterilized glass jar—making sure you're not touching the inside of the jar—and fill it with the still piping hot jam. Secure the lid tightly and put the jar in a cool, dry place for storage.
You may keep an unopened sterilized jar of this jam in a dark and cool place for up to a year. Once you open a jar, you have to immediately refrigerate it.


  1. I agree with you on all the above; I too prefer a breakfast of toast and jam and good coffee versus the anglo-saxon eggs and bacon; your jam looks so good I love that translucent orange color and texture; I have never made nectarine jam either and I am planning to now, with that great and easy recipe and the glut of nectarines, peaches and other fruits we're getting from our orchard this summer!

  2. Homemade jam is the best. And your nectarine jam looks picture perfect! But, now I must devise another title for next week's post! Jammin' has already been taken - much more appropriate for you, as you still are a musician! Mine will be peach-lavender... decided I needed to use some lavender soon, considering the name of my blog! ~ David

  3. Yum! Be sure to set aside some jars for dreary February and March, when the burst of summer will make your heart sing! Stacks of jam made in summer was all that got us through the grim winters of coastal Maine - Mark

  4. Ooh, jam is an excellent plan. Maybe that's what I should do with all the amazing nectarines at our farmer's market!

  5. For Christmas, a friend of mine made me strawberry jam, and I could totally taste the difference...I had to pick out a strawberry leaf though, but that just accentuated how real it was!

  6. This jam looks amazing, so rich and thick and sweet! I need to get into jam making.

  7. Γεια! Σε διαβαζω εδω και αρκετο καιρο και μ'αρεσει πολυ το μπλογκ σου. Δεν ξερω αν δεχεσαι βραβεια, αλλα προτεινα το αγγλοφωνο για ενα.

    1. Γειά σου Εύη. Σ' ευχαριστώ πολύ!