Preserving the best of summer’s fruit

A dutch oven filled with syrupy peaches
Perfect peach jam, a must for preserving the best fruits of summer.
(Silvia Razgova / For The Times)

Today is the debut of “L.A. in a Jar,” a new series I created to show home cooks how simple it is to make fruit preserves (if you took the time to learn how to make sourdough bread over the past year, I guarantee this is much easier). Each entry will focus on a different style of preserves that fits a particular season. Come October, we’ll focus on apple butter. In January, it’s citrus marmalade time. And in April of next year, it’ll be all about berry jam and jelly.

But for this first entry, I dive deep into stone fruit jam, my personal favorite. It’s an opportunity to highlight the best produce in the country, and the farmers who bring it to us, while giving you a practical, no-nonsense and nonintimidating guide to preserving the bounty you get at the farmers markets each weekend. Check out the guide here and let me know what you think.

After all that jam-making you may have some leftover fruit, so here are some other stone-fruit-related recipes that you’ll want to try.

Not that you need a recipe for fruit over yogurt for breakfast, but it never hurts to try out a new granola recipe, especially since you’ll want to eat a lot to go with all the types of stone fruit you buy this summer. This one has lots of cinnamon and brown sugar to complement the ripest peaches.

For a more leisurely weekend breakfast, try my yeasted breakfast cake that takes to any stone fruit, or a mix of them, really well (don’t skimp on the crunchy sugar crust!).

For your backyard barbecues, potlucks and picnics, , there are a few dessert options that go particularly well with versatile stone fruits. A solid upside-down cake recipe is essential for summer entertaining and takes especially well to plums. A simple galette, overflowing with apricots, is so easy and rustic, anyone can make it look great.

And if you’re an ice cream head, call down the kids for labor and break out the hand-crank churn so you can make this nectarine-cardamom ice cream, brimming with a floral sweet-tart aroma that makes for the best chilled dessert. Serve it on its own or scoop it onto slices of warm cake or galette and indulge in all the wonderful stone fruit in L.A. that, thankfully, you can never have too much of.

Summer Fruit and Yogurt Parfait with Homemade Granola

Homemade granola is incredibly simple. Just make sure you stir the mixture often while it’s baking so it colors evenly and becomes satisfyingly crisp. Serve it with yogurt and the ripest stone fruit you can get your hands on.
Get the recipe.
Cook time: 1 hour.


Yeasted Breakfast Cake with Peaches and Plums

This recipe is meant to be a showcase for the best stone fruit of summer, but it can also be used as a blank canvas for whatever fruit you have lying around that’s about to go bad. If you’re the type who wakes up early and doesn’t eat breakfast until later in the morning, make this cake all in one go on the morning you plan to serve it.
Get the recipe.
Cook time: 2 hours 40 minutes.

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Plum Upside-Down Cake

Sweet and tender yellow cake is wonderful here with tart, uber-aromatic plums. Look for Santa Rosas or another purple-hued plum to offer maximum contrast against the pale cake.
Get the recipe.
Cook time: 1 hour 10 minutes.

Apricot Almond Galette

Think of a galette as pie’s free-form cousin. Rustic yet beautiful, a galette is simple and unfussy. The simple pie dough is ideal for soaking up ripe apricot juices and offering a crunchy crust against the soft cooked filling in the middle.
Get the recipe.
Cook time: 1 hour.

Nectarine-Cardamom Ice Cream

The slightly astringent, slightly floral flavor of cardamom perfectly underlines that particular creamy tart note that separates nectarines from peaches. The ice cream has the clean, vibrant flavor of a sorbet and the luxurious texture of an ice cream.
Get the recipe.
Cook time: 2 hours.

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