The other day I walked into my kitchen and something smelled great. Like a fruity candle. Or a middle school hallway at the beginning of the day. The culprit was a basket full of super ripe nectarines. They were dangerously close to the point where I normally would have cut my losses and tossed them out. But this time, I just couldn't. They were too soft to eat without making a terrible mess, and just enough to them to make discarding the lot painful.
So I stepped into the 1950s and turned them into refrigerator jam.
Since then, I've done the same with a carton of strawberries that were too tart for my kids liking. It's such a simple process that requires only three ingredients: fruit, water, & sugar.
First, wash the fruit and cut away any stems. Put them in a sauce pan with some water. Not so much water that they're completely covered, but enough so that if they were little children they would be splashing in the kiddie pool. Set the pot over medium high heat and let the water cook them a bit. After a couple of minutes take a spoon and start smooshing the fruit. At this point, add sugar. This is not an exact science...I just dumped in sugar until I felt good about it. Maybe 1 part sugar to 3 parts fruit. If you like things less sweet, use less. Allow this mixture to cook over low heat for a little while. I set my stove to the lowest setting and went outside to pick weeds. About 20 minutes later I came back to it, smooshed it a little more and poured it in a jar. (The nectarines I ran through the food processor because I had left the skin on.)
This will keep in the fridge for a couple of days. Use it on toast, crackers, ice cream, cupcakes, pancakes or a spoon. If you made a ton, you can turn it into bread. I'll share that recipe tomorrow. I've got almond/nectarine bread in the oven right now...I'll let you know how it turns out.