I made jam.
Well, actually, I only used 3-4 lbs of the pears to make the jam. The rest were eaten out of hand, baked in a pear-peach crisp (which I’ll share with you soon - I’ve finally nailed down a good gluten-free version!), or peeled and sliced, and placed in the freezer for the future. I’m happy to know that I have delicious fruit available when winter comes. Definitely will be missing the bounty of summer produce come December.
Why so many pears? Well, in my frequent visits to the farmer’s market in McKinney, I have become acquainted with the farmer that owns Good Earth Organic Farm in nearby Celeste, Texas. (We’ve most recently been in discussions about starting a CSA, which I am ecstatic about!) He has regularly brought bushels of pears to the market, as well as braids of garlic, fresh sweet yellow onions, okra, various peppers, and his winter squashes are just starting to arrive. I was eyeing his pears, and we discussed that he could make a deal on a larger volume. I agreed to buy a peck of pears, and happily toted my goodies home. I allowed the pears to sit out for a few days to ripen.
Once they were ripe, I knew I had to process them. Being a bit of a newbie to canning (I’ve canned hot peppers before, but it was 7-8 years ago, and am a complete newbie to jams), I carefully had to read the instructions…twice…to be sure I knew what steps to take. Once I got the hang of it, though, it was relatively simple – prepare jam, simmer (sterilize) canning jars and lids, fill jars, and process in hot water bath. Simple!
How was the jam? I’ll admit, it was a teensy bit thinner than store-bought jams, but after spreading it on a bit of (gluten-free) toast, I didn’t find this to be an issue. After all, most jams I’ve purchased were difficult to spread. This jam was much easier. And the cinnamon and allspice didn’t overwhelm the pear flavors, they complimented them quite well. I just might have to indulge in a regular ritual of jam-on-toast!
Spiced Pear Jam, yields 8 8-ounce jars
4 cups prepared pears (about 3-4 lbs pears, peeled, sliced, and processed in food processor until chunky)
Juice and zest from 2 large lemons
5 cups sugar
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 t allspice
1 t butter
1 3-ounce pouch pectin, such as Sure Jell
Bring water in your canner to a boil and keep at a simmer. Bring another pot of water large enough to hold your canning jars and lids to a boil, and reduce to a simmer, and place your jars and lids in the water and hold them there until ready to fill.
Place the prepared pears, lemon juice and zest, sugar, spices, and butter into a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring often. Add pectin and stir constantly while at a boil for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat, and skim off the foam that has risen to the top.
Fill jars with jam, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace. Place the sealer lids on, and tighten the threaded lid. Place each jar in the canner, and make sure there is enough boiling-hot water to cover the jars by 2 inches or so. Boil for 10 minutes, and then remove from canner and transfer to a towel and allow to cool for 6-8 hours. Your sealer lids should have all popped. (You can test by pressing your finger in the center of the lid, if it doesn’t wobble up and down, you’re good. If it does, you will need to refrigerate the jar, or you can try to reprocess with a new sealer lid if you prefer.) Congratulations, you have made jam!