NZ Gardener - Gifts from the Gardens - - Preserves -

Give the sweet­ness of your sum­mer stone­fruit ex­tra zing and make peach and gin­ger jam.

Take 4 or 5 cups of peaches, pit­ted and chopped, and ¼ cup of crys­tallised gin­ger, finely chopped, and bring to the boil over a medium heat. Add 6 cups of jam-set­ting sugar and stir un­til it re­turns to the boil. Con­tinue stir­ring un­til the sugar has dis­solved, then for a minute or two more. Re­move from the heat, pour into hot ster­ilised jars and seal.

Plums can be turned into de­li­cious jams too, or try mak­ing the Euro­pean pre­serve known as Lek­var. Some­where be­tween a jam and fruit cheese or paste, this rich mix­ture is made by stir­ring puréed dried prunes (and oc­ca­sion­ally apri­cots) over a very low heat with equal vol­umes of wa­ter and sugar un­til a vis­cous black bat­ter is achieved. The deeply fruity, semi-caramelised flavour is like noth­ing else. For au­then­tic­ity, use only Euro­pean plums, although Ja­panese plums work too, at a pinch.

For Heather Cole’s black­cur­rant and rhubarb jam, boil 2kg black­cur­rants and 1kg rhubarb in 2L of wa­ter for 30 min­utes, mash­ing the fruit up as you go. Stir in 2½kg of sugar and boil for 15 min­utes or un­til the jam sets on a saucer. Pour into clean, dry jars, warmed in the oven on a low heat, and seal.

Gay Tait’s tamar­illo jam is su­per easy. Place a quan­tity of tamar­illo flesh in food pro­ces­sor and blitz to a pulp. Mea­sure cup for cup tamar­il­los and sugar. Gen­tly bring to the boil, stir­ring. Turn heat down to a sim­mer. Con­tinue to stir un­til mix­ture thick­ens and sets. Bot­tle.

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