|Nectarine Preserves With Basil|
Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
|-------- ------------ --------------------------------
4 cups sugar
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup water
1 cup fresh basil sprigs
8 small basil sprigs
5 pounds nectarines or peaches -- peeled, each
cut into 8 wedges
1 package lower-sugar powdered pectin - (1 3/4 oz) -- plus
2 tablespoons lower-sugar powdered pectin
=== SPECIAL EQUIPMENT ===
Sterilize jars and lids: Wash 8 (1/2 pint) jars, lids, and screw bands in
hot soapy water, then rinse well. Dry screw bands. Put jars and lids on
a rack in a boiling-water canner or an 8- to 10-quart deep pot and add
enough water to cover by 2 inches. Heat water until an instant-read
thermometer registers 180 degrees. Do not let boil. Keep jars submerged
in hot water, covered, until ready to use.
Bring sugar, lemon juice, water, and 1 cup basil to a boil in a 5- to
6-quart heavy pot, stirring, until sugar is dissolved. Simmer over
moderately-low heat until thick and syrupy, about 25 minutes. Discard
basil with a slotted spoon.
Add nectarines to syrup and bring to a rolling boil over moderately-high
heat, then boil, uncovered, stirring frequently, 5 minutes. Remove from
heat and transfer nectarines with slotted spoon to a sieve set over a bowl
to catch juice. Drain nectarines 5 minutes, then add juice from bowl to
juice in pot.
Drain jars upside down on a clean kitchen towel 1 minute, then invert.
Divide nectarines among jars with slotted spoon. Tuck a fresh basil sprig
into side of each jar.
Return juice in pot to a rolling boil, skimming off any foam. Continue to
boil until juice registers 220 to 224 degrees on thermometer, 7 to 10
minutes. Gradually add pectin, whisking constantly. Return juice to a
rolling boil, then boil, skimming off any foam, 1 minute.
Ladle juice into jars, leaving 1/4-inch of space at top, then run a thin
knife between fruit and jar to eliminate air bubbles.
Seal, process, and store filled jars: Wipe off rims of filled jars with a
clean, damp kitchen towel, then firmly screw on lids with screw bands.
Put sealed jars on a rack in a boiling-water canner or an 8- to 10-quart
deep pot and add enough water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil,
covered. Boil for 10 minutes (for 1/2-pint jars), then transfer with
tongs to a towel-lined surface to cool.
Jars will seal (if you hear a ping, that signals that the vacuum formed at
the top of the jar has made the lid concave) and preserves will thicken as
they cool. After jars have cooled 12 to 24 hours, press center of each
lid to check that it's concave, then remove screw band and try to lift off
lid with your fingertips. If you can't, the lid has a good seal.
Let preserves stand in jars at least 1 day for flavors to develop.
This recipe yields 7 or 8 (1/2-pint) jars.
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