Preserving Plum, Peach and Nectarine Juice (Concentrate or Cordial)

I’m a guy.  Not always a stereotypical male (I was a jazz-dancing, figure-skating, sequence-wearing kid after all) but I do sometimes fall into the trappings of all things male.  When I started focusing on preserving as a way to augment our pantry I fell into a mindset that’s an absolute cliché for the male species (being fair, this also applies to many females I know as well but I need to tell a story so I’m sticking to it):

More is better.

I was practically a neanderthal.  I didn’t know what I was going to do with 24 jars of strawberry jam but I wanted to have them.

I like to think that I’ve somewhat mellowed:

Preserving Plum, Peach and Nectarine Juice (Concentrate or Cordial) Preserving Recipes Plum Peach Nectarine

Over they years since graduation from caveman pre-school, I’ve taken a new definition of ‘more” when it comes to preserving.  What I used to measure in quantity of jars (quality being a baseline requirement), I now measure in variety of options.  I would far rather have 8 different types of preserves in 50 jars than 4 different types of preserves in 100 jars.

The only downside of diversity is storage.  Our ‘Great Wall of Preserves‘ was set up to store quantity.  The deep shelves allow me to ‘front’ 2-3 different preserves per cubicle and store a quantity of them in its deep recesses.  When moving to variety, the challenge becomes very different (our pantry contains more than 150 different single-batch jars from infusions to dehydrated goods to one-off jars that were gifted or swapped their way in to the kitchen).  I’m thinking that it will soon be time for a formal inventory system within our gridded storage wall and there’s something a little too formal for my likings with that.

If storing is my biggest problem, I’m willing to live with the sacrifice. Preserving Plum, Peach and Nectarine Juice (Concentrate or Cordial) Preserving Recipes Plum Peach Nectarine

Diversifying my pantry has taken some time to do.  We had to eat through all of that initial jam and we had to learn a lot more about preserving in general.  Diversity means that I make 2-4 different batches of preserves with the same ingredient at the same time – not exactly the time to be researching recipes, getting confused between them or trying to figure out what preserve is in what pot and what each needs.

That’s where preserving cordial – or concentrated juice (also refered to as ‘beena’ like when we made our rhubarbeena) comes in.  It’s a simple way to increase your variety while adding a small amount of work.  It’s also extremely flexible in that you can use almost any amount of fruit that you want and you’ll have an additional option in your pantry with the flick of a wrist (ok, so it’s a bit more than that).  The fact that this preserve is a concentrate is also a bonus in that it takes less storage space than it could if it was stored ‘as served.’

To drink a cordial like this, simply add 2-4 parts water (vodka or brandy also counts if you want to use it as part of your ‘water’) and serve chilled over ice or add some bubbly water to it.  Cocktails are limitless.  You can also cook with it in many ways including adding it to salad dressings, adding a small bit it to rice as it cooks or use it in baking.

Recipe

  1. Wash your fruit and slice in half (I don’t pit it).
  2. Weigh your fruit.
  3. Add 30% of the weight in sugar.
  4. Place the mixture in a wide sauce pan and bring to a gentle boil over medium-high heat.
  5. Boil for 5-10 minutes.
  6. Pour the mixture in a strainer/ colander, cover and leave for 12-24 hours.  I have a trick of using 3 different strainers.  Optional: I start with a colander designed for noodles with giant holes, transfer the strained liquid to a finer mesh strainer before processing through a very-fine mesh strainer so that most of the initial liquid can be put in the fridge very quickly.
  7. On the next day, heat the liquid again fill hot, sterilized 1/2 pint (1 cup jars).  Process for 10 minutes.

Taadaaa!

What are your favourite cordials?

Comments

  1. Can you use honey instead?

    • Cheryl, this should work for most fruit as they are high acid and can technically be preserved in water – since there’s not even water here, it should work). They question will be shelf-life.

      The Joy of Cooking reccomends subbing honey in at 50% the amount of sugar (they don’t specify if this is volume or weight). I can’t guarantee the success and would double check safety with a site like National center for Home Food Preservation which lists saefty of canning with water ingredient by ingedient in their canning section – the home page is here: http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/

      My only other hesitation on honey comes from lack of experience. I don’t know if it would ‘pull the juices’ out of fruit like sugar does in the macerating process. So I’m really guessing along with you.

  2. Your storage problem has been tickling my brain a bit. If you are handy, you could probably solve it with a series of overhead storage racks based on the same premise at wine glass racks like this, just for illustration purposes: http://tinyurl.com/3mojclu

    The glass lip just below the ring on your jar would serve the same purpose as the footing on the wine glass in the picture. Of course, with full overhead racks you’d have a fantastic view of your colorful preserves. It could be really pretty and a completely original arrangement for your unstereotypical self.

  3. Love your post and I can totally relate! I wanted to ask , with that recipe, using the skins and pits from fruit that I did make jam with that are leftover, Can I make jelly with that? I am speaking of plums, peaches and apricots. I don’t like to waste a thing like you so I thought this might be a good idea.

    • Clarissa, it’s a great point.

      You may be able to make a jelly – a lot of the natural juice has been pulled from it but it’s worth a try. My two main bi-products are dehydrating the pulp into a leather/ roll-up or infusing booze with it (more on that in the next few days). :) It is indeed a recipe that keeps on giving. :) Hope that helps!

      • Meaghan B says:

        What about a fruit butter? You may need to add back a little juice but it shouldn’t be much.

      • The fruit pulp would also work well in quick breads. You could freeze the pulp in small bags or containers and use it throughout the year. In the middle of winter, peach or plum muffins would be stellar!

      • Dehydrating the pulp! That’s what I should have saved the peach skin pulp for on the weekend!

        It was at a friend’s place and I commented that it’s too bad we were putting that in the compost bin after straining boiled peach skins through cheesecloth. I have a dehydrator. I could have taken the pulp from him. Maybe next time.

  4. One of my hugest problems has been “managing my inventory”. I recently entered canned goods into the local fair. I arrived and the gal said..”where are you TWO jars”. Somehow I’d miss read the form and only brought one. I went home, dug through my shelves, only to realize 4 of my entries were the LAST JARS. Ugh. So I swapped things around and entered a few other things. But I realized I HAVE to keep track of what I’m canning. Now when I make a batch of something, I write what I did differently in my canning notebook, what my yield was and then I add it to a little piece of paper I have stuck to our shelves and each time I grab a jar, I note it on the paper. Last summer I kept giving away my last jars of things, not realizing they were the last ones. Oi! Now jars are all over the place but at least I have an idea of exactly what I have :) I can’t decide if I want to try this or whiskey pears first! (this was a really long winded comment! sorry about that! ;))

    • never appologize for comments or long wind Amanda – love it!

      I can relate to your pain – and love the story. I also don’t, erm, label things. I can tell them visually. Keep telling myself that I will label them but I don’t… :0 SO this leads to things like camping and eating toast with raspberry jalapeno jam. :)

  5. i love that you wrote “sequence” instead of “sequins”… still smiling several minutes later. LOVE your blog.

  6. I’m loving this idea too (nectarines!) — it feeds my preserving addiction and is something I’ve not done before (ergo there’s none of it in my growing collection!)

    Question: do you have a ballpark number for how many pounds of fruit give you what kind of yield?

  7. I suspect that Evernote (online, desktop and app!) would work for inventory, maybe with Touchanote. You could stick one of Touchanote’s stickers on the side of the shelf and scan it with your phone.

    I use Evernote to inventory my freezer. Of course it helps when I remember to update it.

  8. I have a simple spreadsheet in Excel for recording my garden harvest (I have loads of fruit trees and veg.) and I also started one for my preserving. You can use Office Word Excel or Powerpoint on any handheld device by using DocsToGo – that lets you edit and create on the device and then you can also Sync to the Desktop and Vice Versa. Unlike Evernote the Sync isn’t automatic but I find thats not really an issue.
    That way you can search by name or date, and record inventory.

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