White Nectarine Compote

In our area, white nectarines have two seasons - an early and a late. While most people prefer the perfumed, very sweet white nectarines of August/September, I prefer the tart and slightly sweet white nectarines of July. My fruit man thinks I'm crazy.

I would go so far as to say that the early white nectarine is my favorite of the summer stone fruits, which is basically equivalent to saying it's my favorite fruit overall. That is why, about a week or so after the white nectarines first come to the market, I buy a huge amount (I think I have about 5 or 6 pounds this time) and make this delicious compote. It's somewhere between nectarine jam and nectarines preserved in syrup.

You could use it as a jam, served alongside cheeses, mixed into yogurt or cottage cheese, as an ice cream topper, or, let's face it, you could eat it straight out of the jar.

This recipe draws heavily from Desert Candy and hungry tigress.

Makes ~8 half-pint jars

10-12 medium nectarines
1/2 cup sugar
2 lemons
1/2 tsp cardamom (optional - it is a nice contrast but can be a bit floral)

The night before, pit and cut the nectarine into large chunks. My idea of a large chunk is an 1/8 sliver of the nectarine, cut in half. I don't think it's necessary to peel the nectarines. I think the skins taste great and they add a beautiful reddish hue to the finished product.

In a large bowl with a lid, add the nectarines, sugar, and the juice of two lemons. Don't forget to add the lemon juice or your nectarines will brown!

Let nectarine mix sit in the fridge over night. The fruit will macerate in the sugar and release its juice.

The next morning, strain the nectarines and reserve the juices.

Put the juices into a saucepan. The saucepan should be large enough to eventually hold the nectarines too.

First bring the juices to a simmer over medium heat. Boil until the syrup gains viscosity like a jam would. If the syrup never gets there, it's okay; you'll end up with something more like nectarines in syrup.

Then add the nectarines and the cardamom. Bring to boil on high heat. Boil for 5 minutes.

Pack fruit and syrup into sterilized and heated jars and process for 10 minutes.

Nectarine Compote
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