Low-Sugar Nectarine Preserves

Nectarine Jam
Sean Timberlake
Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 45 mins
Total: 75 mins
Servings: 40 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
91 Calories
0g Fat
23g Carbs
1g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 40
Amount per serving
Calories 91
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 0mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 23g 8%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Total Sugars 21g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 3mg 16%
Calcium 4mg 0%
Iron 0mg 1%
Potassium 115mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

A jam is a jam is a jam, right? Perhaps, but there are little tips and tricks that can take an ordinary jam to new heights. 

After harvesting mountains of peaches and nectarines from Masumoto Family Farm, we worked Shakira Simley of Bi-Rite Market to make some jam—a lot of jam. Between their harvest and mine, we processed about 120 pounds of fruit. ​

Shakirah is a Master Food Preserver and studied preserving at the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Italy, so we always pick up a trick or two from her. For stone fruit specifically (that is, apricots, peaches, and nectarines), she likes to cook the fruit a bit first before adding sugar. As the fruit heats, it opens up and becomes more receptive to the sugar. Then when the sugar dissolves into the liquid to become a syrup, it penetrates the fruit more easily and you reach a better set, even with relatively low sugar levels. 

Normally, we macerate fruit in advance of making a jam—in other words, allow the fruit and sugar to stand together to draw out liquid—but this method works out to be simpler and faster. Before long, the jam was perfectly viscous and dense. A splash of lemon juice adds some brightness and protects color. This is key especially for lower-sugar preserves, which can lose their luster more rapidly. For this jam, use only 30 percent sugar to fruit by weight, about as low as you can go and get a proper set. 

This method works as well on nectarines as on peaches and apricots, but the nectarine flavor really shines here. It's sure to be a welcome dose of summer sun when the days grow colder and dark. 


Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Wash and dice nectarines, discarding pits. Add to a heavy, non-reactive pot. Add a small amount of water to the bottom, and place pot over medium-high heat. 

  3. Bring to a boil, stirring to prevent scorching. The fruit will give off quite a bit of liquid. Boil for a few minutes, until fruit begins to look translucent. Add sugar, and stir to blend completely.

  4. Return to a boil, and cook, stirring occasionally, until jam reaches the set point. Add lemon juice and stir to combine. 

  5. Pack jam into clean half-pint jars. Seal and process for 10 minutes in a water bath canner. 


  • You do not need to peel the nectarines.

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