I must have been overzealous when I bought peaches and nectarines the other day. Before I had a chance to make a dent in my towering fruit bowl, I noticed I had been beaten to it. Fruit flies had settled in; nature’s little reminder to eat my fruit (and put it in the fridge when it’s ripe).
There are all kinds of ways to use ripe seasonal fruit: you can freeze it, can it, put it in smoothies, use it in desserts, make fruit salsa or just sink your teeth into it fresh in its pure form.Stewing fruit is a quick and easy way to capture the intense flavours and sweetness of summer fruit. The fruit softens and releases its juices, creating a rich sauce that is easy to incorporate into every meal of the day.
How to stew fruit
Choose your fruit. BC grows amazing summer fruit. Plums, apricots, peaches, nectarines and cherries are all delicious when stewed.
- Wash the fruit and peel it if you wish.
- Chop it up into slices or chunks. Discard any stones or stems.
- Place the fruit in a saucepan and add a bit of water (start with 2 tbsp for a small saucepan) to prevent burning.
- Sugar can be added, based on your taste preferences. Really ripe fruit may not need any sugar and less ripe fruit may need a little more. Add a bit at a time (start with 1 tbsp) and taste between additions.
- Put a lid on the saucepan and gently simmer the fruit at medium heat, stirring occasionally. The fruit will start to soften.
- Once the fruit has broken down to the texture you want it, remove the lid and let the liquid evaporate (uncovered). Stir every few minutes until you’re happy with the consistency.
- Store your stewed fruit in the fridge. If you aren’t going to use it within two days, freeze it for later.
Feel free to play with this basic recipe. Try combining different fruits, or adding lemon zest, grated fresh ginger, cinnamon or other flavours while the fruit is cooking. If you’re serving the stewed fruit with a savoury dish such as grilled meat, include a splash of balsamic or red wine vinegar (to help balance the sweetness) and some chopped fresh herbs.
To triumph over the fruit flies in my kitchen, I made stewed peaches and added a splash of red wine vinegar and some chopped fresh mint. I served it over grilled chicken to some happy eaters on my patio. Stewed fruit is delicious over plain yogurt, oatmeal, cereal, pancakes, French toast and, according to my dinner guests, roasted or grilled meat.
Now to tackle my tomatoes…