Gardens - Fruit & Vegetable Gardening

The best stone fruit varieties for preserving

By
Pat Crocker
Photography by
Stacey Van Berkel

From cherries to nectarines, plant these cultivars for the sweetest preserves


There’s nothing quite as satisfying as the taste of fresh fruits when they’re in their prime. That peak of ripeness makes them an irresistible snack, often warranting a sneaky, dribbly bite before you’ve even made it home from the market. Stone fruits like glistening cherries, intoxicatingly
fragrant peaches, sweet nectarines and refreshingly tart plums are some of summer’s best offerings. And although these succulent treats lend themselves to being enjoyed just as they are, complete with sticky fingers and a juicy chin, their freshness doesn’t have to end with the start of fall. Prepared alongside complementary ingredients and stored away on your pantry shelf, you can seal in the flavour of your bounty and bring it out again whenever you’re in the mood for a freshly picked bite.

Cherries
  • Bing: Sweet; 
dark red, firm 
flesh and large. Excellent for eating 
and canning

  • Lambert: Sweet; dark red firm fruit
  • Vista: Sweet; nearly black in colour and almost 
1” in size
  • 
Early Richmond: Bright red with colourless juice. Very sour and considered only good for jams 
or canning in heavy syrup
  • Montmorency: Sour; colourless juice; widely grown commercially
  • Morello: Sour; mahogany-coloured flesh and dark juice; perhaps the most widely known sour cherry type

Nectarines
  • Arctic Jay: Freestone; 
large with pale yellow skin that has a slight red blush. Flesh is white and flavour is deep, fragrant and sweet. Best used in jams and compotes
  • Fire Sweet: Clingstone; bright red skin with yellow patches; firm smooth yellow flesh; rich colour
  • Heavenly White: Freestone; very large fruit; creamy white skin that is deeply red blushed. White flesh has full aroma and flavour
  • Le Grand: Clingstone; bright red and yellow skin; yellow, firm flesh that is fine texture; mild tasting

Peaches
  • Babygold 5, Redhaven: Yellow flesh; non-melting (won’t bruise or discolour when preserved)
  • Blushing Star, White Lady: White flesh; 
non-melting

Plums
  • Damson: Wild European native. Blue skin, firm, tart flesh with less water content than other varieties. Keeps texture and shape when preserved
  • Greengages: Green, European-type plum; round, green or golden skinned
  • Santa Rosa: Golden yellow fruit
  • Red Heart: Large fruit, red skin 
and flesh
  • Black Hawk: Freestone
  • Brittlewood: Clingstone; holds shape when preserved


Excerpted from Preserving by Pat Crocker (HarperCollins Publishers Ltd., ©2011) All rights reserved.

 

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