Fruit pastes (also known as fruit cheeses) are firm, semi-opaque preserves that have a high fruit content – much higher than any other fruit preserve. They are made from fresh or frozen fruit, sugar and sometimes spices/flavourings, similar to jam-making but cooked over a long period at a lower temperature which results in a lower yield of preserve, but a delicious concentrated fruit flavour.
Fruit you can make into fruit pastes:
Apple (try apple and cider); apricot; blackberry; blackcurrant; blueberry; cherry; cranberry (try cranberry, orange and red wine); fig (try fig and ginger); gooseberry; guava; mango; mulberry; peach; pear (try pear and pistachio); persimmon; pineapple; plum (try plum and port); raspberry (try raspberry and vanilla); quince; strawberry; and watermelon.
There are many more fruit combinations and flavours you can experiment making at home too.
Making fruit pastes.
To make fruit pastes, simmer the fruit in a small amount of water, then puree and de-seed (if required). Then simmer the fruit mixture with the sugar and spices over a long period (often 1-3 hours) until as thick as possible. The higher the water content of the fruit, the longer it will take to reduce, and a higher pectin fruit will thicken quicker than those naturally lower in pectin (such as berries).  Adding a green apple or two will boost the pectin content and help the fruit paste to thicken. If using low acid fruit such as berries, add some lemon juice for extra acidity.
Ingredients you will need:
Fruit (fresh or frozen, thawed);
Water, fruit juice, cider, or wine (1/2 cup per 450g/pound of fruit);
Sugar (50-100% prepared fruit weight);
Lemon juice (if using low acid fruit add 2 teaspoons per 900g/2lbs).    
Storing fruit pastes.
  • Water bath canning
If fruit paste is too thick, add a little bit of fruit juice and heat though fruit paste until hot. Pack hot fruit paste into hot glass jars and process in a water bath canner for 15 minutes. Once cooled overnight, store your jars of fruit paste in a cool, dark and dry place for 12 months or more. Use wide-mouth jars if you wish to remove the fruit paste from the jar before serving.
  • Oven-dry and refrigerate
Spread fruit paste onto a lined oven tray. Dry on low heat in the oven to your liking, then cool. Cut fruit paste, wrap tightly in plastic wrap (or store in containers) and keep in the refrigerator or freezer.
Serving ideas for fruit pastes:
Serve fruit pastes as part of a cheese platter with fresh fruit, creamy or sharp cheeses and crackers. Serve in thin slices, wedges or cut into shapes with mini cookie cutters.  
  • Christmas – cut fruit pastes into snowflakes, Christmas trees or stars;
  • Dissolve as a glaze for meat (or fruit tarts);
  • Serve apricot fruit paste with blue cheese;
  • Serve cherry fruit paste with camembert and goats cheese;
  • Serve fig fruit paste with sheep or goat cheese;
  • Serve plum fruit paste with gouda or cheddar;
  • Serve quince fruit paste with mild cheeses;
  • Or serve your favourite flavour of fruit cheese with your favourite cheese!

Author: Megan Radaich          
Image Credit: Megan Radaich          
Publication: www.foodpreserving.org

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