The quandong, also sometimes know as a wild or native peach is an intriguing Australian fruit.
The ripe fruit is a beautiful red colour, with the thin, rather firm flesh surrounding a large, hard, round, single stone. The birds love them, especially the parrots, so you can imagine, when they’re ripe, it’s a race against the birdies to collect the best fruits for cooking.
I have used the fruit. stewed, in tarts and crumbles, and it is a delight. Tangy, fruity, reminiscent of peach, dried apricot and maybe passionfruit. As with many arid/semi arid grown Australian fruits, the flavours are intensified due to the relatively low moisture content.
My wild peach, dried apricot and vanilla bean jam, in my mind, made perfect use of all the qualities of the fruit. The distinctive quandong is perfectly complemented by the dried apricots, and the vanilla bean smooths out the flavours and adds fragrance.
This jam was a pleasure to make. Quandongs are easy to cut and pit, and I snipped up the dried apricots with kitchen scissors.
I do believe this jam would also be delicious made with “regular” peaches or nectarines.
I used my usual jam making method. Stewing the chopped fruits with lemon juice and a minimal quantity of water, along with a split vanilla bean, before adding an equal weight of sugar to the cooked fruit.
The candy thermometer was used, to ensure a perfect set. The delicate flavours of this jam definitely would not be improved by overcooking. Overcooked jam takes on caramel notes as the sugar cooks more, I don’t like the guess work of continuously chilling the cooking jam on a saucer to test it, so, the candy thermometer is my jam making best friend!
The cooked jam was allowed to cool a little before bottling. This prevents all the fruits rising to the top in the jar. I also slipped a half vanilla bean down the side of each jar. Extravagant, but the bean will gently release flavour over time (plus it looks pretty…) The bean can be rinsed and reused after the jam is eaten.
It is such a lovely jam, maybe my favourite so far.
I wish you happy jam making!
’till next time