6-8 lb nectarines, pitted and coarsely chopped
zest of 2 limes
2 cups light brown sugar
1 2-inch knob ginger, peeled
2 3-inch pieces lemongrass, cut into 1/4 inch chunks
1 1/2 tablespoons white peppercorns
1/4 cup (bottled) lemon juice
Place the nectarines, zest, and sugar in a 4-quart slow cooker, stir. Note: you can fill the insert all the way to the top, it will cook down quickly!
Place the ginger, lemongrass, and peppercorns into a large tea ball and place in the slow cooker.
Turn the slow cooker on low and cook overnight (8-10 hrs) or until the mixture has reduced by nearly half, with the lid slightly askew to allow for some evaporation to occur. A chopstick can help keep the lid from closing if necessary.
Puree the mixture with an immersion or standard blender. Return the mixture to the slow cooker and continue to cook, with the lid slightly askew, as needed to obtain fruit butter consistency, about an hour.
Stir in the lemon juice.
Prep your jars and lids.
Pour the butter in the jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
Yield: about 6 8-oz jars
Another year as canbassader for the Washington State Fruit Commission has come to an end! This year I was sent a whole case of nectarines! In previous years I’ve been sent plums and peaches which have been amazing but I’ll be honest. nectarines have always been my favorite summer fruit. The fuzz on peaches makes my hands itchy so it’s tricky to peel them myself and I always end up needed help making anything. No issue with nectarines! The skin is fuzz-free and so thin, you don’t even need to peel them before canning unless you want to.
Apple butter is the most popular fruit butter out there, possibly followed by pumpkin butter but I like stone fruit butter the best. It really concentrates the flavors of the fruit. Apples are available nearly year-round (although of course, they are better when in season during the fall) but most stone fruit is only available during the summer, making it more attractive to can. There is nothing better than getting a taste of nectarines during the darkest part of winter.
For this butter, I used the classic combination of floral lemongrass and spicy ginger and tossed in some white peppercorn for just a hint of heat. They perfectly brought out the near tropical sweetness of the nectarine.
Making it in the slow cooker really makes it a breeze to make. You can just simmer it on the stove but it requires a lot of attention or it very easily scorches. No risk of that in the slow cooker and the only real hands-on time is cutting the nectarine and then briefly boiling the jars.