Preserved Fruit Slices
For this recipe I use the water bath method of preserving. This is my favourite way to preserve as the process cooks the fruit while also sterilising and sealing the jars. Ideally you need a proper 'water-bath' preserver to do this successfully (if you are serious about preserving it is worth the investment). You can also fashion your own water bath using a large stock pot with a wire rack in the base to lift the jars off the bottom of the pot - the jars need to be completely submerged in the water therefore it needs to be a TALL pot.
Ingredients/You will need:
- 4 x 500ml preserving jars – very clean
- Approx. 2 kg fruit – firm-fleshed stone-fruit (plum, peach, apricot), pear or apple
- 1 litre water OR 1 litre light sugar syrup
Prepare the fruit, removing any stones or pips and peel if desired. Halve, quarter or slice fruit into a uniform size. Pack snugly into the jars (take your time here the better the fruit is packed the better the end result). Fill the jars with cold water or 'light sugar syrup' (see directions below) to come up to 1cm from the top of the jar.
Screw on the lids hand tight (don’t over tighten) and place in the water bath - ensure there is a little space between each jars for the heat to circulate.
Fill the water bath with cold water to cover the top of the jars by 1cm. Cover with the lid and either switch on the water bath or if using the stovetop turn to a moderate/high heat.
Once the water is just about boiling with little bubbles around the edges of the pan switch off/ remove from the heat. This will take about 30-60 minutes depending on the height of your jars. Leave the jars to cool in the water bath before removing. Check the lids, making sure they have properly sealed (the lids should be concaving into the jar). Store jars in a cool, dark pantry for up to 6 months. Once opened keep refrigerated and consumer within 1 week.
*Light Sugar Syrup: Although fruit can be successfully preserved without sugar, using light sugar syrup will help retain the flavour and structure of the fruit. This is particularly helpful for fruit that is either tart or very ripe. To make light sugar syrup combine 1 part sweetener (i.e. cane sugar, rapadura, coconut sugar, rice malt syrup or honey) with 4 parts warm water. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. For 4 x 500 ml jars approx. 1 litre sugar syrup is required.