We love fruit. I mean, we REALLY love fruit. We eat it fresh, in smoothies, baked in pies, in crumbles, on other fruit, in salads, grilled, braised, broiled, baked...you name it, we'll try it! And in the height of summer when the bounty of the trees and fields is being brought in, we realize we cannot possibly eat all the fruit of the season. So we pull out our pots and pans, roll our sleeves up, and get to work preserving the tastiness! Our fruit preserves tend to be on the tarter side of sweet so the taste of the fruit still comes through. Some tend to be thinner rather than thick since the preserves we make are great accompaniments for more than just toast. Try them on yoghurt, in granola, atop oatmeal, as a sauce on ice cream, as a glaze for chicken or pork, in a PB&J sandwich...the possibilities are endless.
Apple Butter and Pear Butter
Our fruit butters are cooked down beyond the "sauce" stage, but similar to our apple sauce, there is nothing added to these jars of goodness. The apple butters are made with a mix of tart and sweet apples. The pear butters are made from super ripe, sweet pears. Eat atop pancakes, waffles or scones, with pork, as a glaze for chicken thighs, or as a spoonful of goodness for those babies making their way into the world of solids.
Just apples, nothing else, cooked into a comforting sauce that reminds us of autumn days, when school has been in session for a month or two and the days are getting shorter. Nights chill the toes, but the afternoons still have a warm hold on us. The school day is done, but dinner is not for a while yet. Mama always said a bowl of apple sauce would fill you just enough but not too much, so that's what you reach for. This sauce has no added anything, just the fruit cooked slowly to capture all the taste of fall.
Sunshine on a spoon, apricots are another of those fruits we think needs its tartness left intact. Our jam is sweet, but there is still a lip-puckering undertone in this rich jam. Slow-cooked until the fruit is thick on the spoon, this jam contains apricots, cane sugar, Meyer lemon juice and a tiny bit of pectin. We relied on the slow-cooking method to thicken this jam, resulting in a deeper bronze color and a rich taste of fruit. This preserve is one of our favorites in yogurt, served with poultry, mixed into sour cream for a dipping sauce, accompanying raw almonds, and on a slab of fresh baked & buttered bread.
Bing Cherry Conserve
Do you remember as a kid eating cherries until you felt like you'd pop, spitting seeds at your friends, leaving purple spots on your clothes? Or did you ever dangle the double cherry combo from your ears like Carmen Miranda earrings? Bing cherries are another signature summer fruit that we love and our Bing Cherry conserve is made with summer cherries, organic cane sugar and Meyer lemon juice & rind. They are delicious on pork or duck, and add a richness to fresh or aged cheeses. We also tend to eat this preserves straight out of the jar, in secret so we don't have to share.
Fig & Meyer Lemon Conserve
While the Bible tells us that Adam and Eve used fig leaves as the first human fashion statement, we prefer the fruit to dress up our cooking! This conserve uses black figs which are covered in cane sugar until the fruit has released its juices. They are then slow cooked in their own syrup with fresh Meyer lemons. This preserve is made with black figs, Meyer lemons and cane sugar. We love this chunky preserve on pork loin, with toasted walnut sourdough & ricotta, with pâté, or on hot biscuits.
Lemon Pear Jam
We are huge fans of lemons. We pick them off our tree and like to use them in much of our cookery. One day we had a huge haul of assorted pears and were wondering what to do with all the fruit. We also had an extra large haul of lemons. Pear meet lemon, lemon meet pear. This jam is tart and has a fair amount of pectin. It is lovely on scones, waffles, pancakes, toast of all flavors, mixed into lemon chicken, heated and served over clotted cream with berries, and on a spoon with a whopping helping of chocolate ganache.
For as much as we love bananas and could eat them at every meal, they can be a tad overwhelming when their bounty exceeds the confines of ones cooking space. In desperation one day when we were given an excessive number of bananas and mangoes, we decided to try our hand at a tropical treat. Bananas, mangoes, pineapple, and coconut are a sweet sensation in this rich jam that is, quite frankly, like candy in a teaspoon. We will proudly admit that we eat it with a liberal dose of Nutella. With no guilt.
Ricardo at the local market asked us how all of the cooking was going with the girls. We told him we were in high gear, cooking up a storm of new flavors. He told us he had a tree full of plums at home that he would share with us. We of course said yes and made a deep purple jam with his bountiful fruit. This jam contains plums, cane sugar, Meyer lemon juice and pectin. It's tartly sweet in a peanut butter sandwich, a charcuterie plate, in oatmeal, deepens a meat marinade, and turns yoghurt into a decadent treat.
Stone Fruits Preserves
Oh boy do we love the golden orbitude of the yellow stone fruits! We cannot get enough of peaches, nectarines or apricots and their sweetness leaves us thinking we should have just one more. After all, they're ripe NOW and they'll go bad if we don't eat them, right? We often have a plethora of all the stone fruits at once which we divide between our mustard and preserves. These preserves are light in flavor, not overly sweetened, with a hint of Meyer lemon. We love them in yogurt, in marinades for poultry or fish, on toast, and in hot cereals.
Strawberries always let us know summer is arcing its high heat across the Valley. And the best way to escape the bark of the dog days is to sit in the shade and eat berries until our mouths are red with juice and the seeds are stuck in our teeth. After indulging, we take the extra fruit and make our preserves with summer berries, cane sugar, Meyer lemon juice & rind and Pomona's pectin. These preserves tend to be on the tart side so the taste of the fruit still comes through. This preserve compliments yogurt beautifully, is delish on a PB&J sandwich, and makes a mad ice cream sundae.
Thompson Seedless Grape Preserves
We dry many of our grapes to make the fatly sweet raisins we use in our cookery, but occasionally we get a huge batch that we can't accommodate in our drying space. So, out come the thinking caps. Hearkening back to our time spent in Italy and remembering the way that grapes were not relegated to just table fruit or raisins, we tried our hand at making a preserve to showcase the fruit. This preserve is light but juicy and can be mixed into poultry dressing, tossed into a spinach salad, served atop cheesecake, or cooked with meats.