October 26, 2009
My mother-in-law lives out by the beach, and she has a neighbor with a very happy pear tree. "You should come out and pick some pears, you guys. They are delicious." So she kept telling us for few weeks. Free pears, picked ourselves... sounds like another jamming opportunity. Out we go, with my copy of Christine Ferber's jam book, and a box full of half-pint jars and lids. With the pears safely in hand, it was time to chose some recipes. I decided to make two different jams, and I will share the first today.
2 3/4 pounds pears
1 3/4 cups agave nectar (or 2 3/4 cups of sugar)
7 oz local honey (I used some made by hard-working Sacramento Delta bees)
Juice of one small Meyer lemon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
2 teaspoons pectin (I use Pomona's Universal)
2-3 tablespoons sugar (to use as a mixer for the pectin powder)
Prepare the pears by peeling, coring, and removing their stems. To core them, I sliced them into quarters and quickly cut out the core, seeds and all. Next slice each quarter thinly, against the grain, making short rather than long slices. In your cooking pot, combine the pears, agave, honey, lemon juice, and grated ginger. Bring the mixture to a simmer. Turn off the heat and pour the sweet goodness into a bowl. Cover with parchment paper and put in the refrigerator overnight.
Next day, pour the mixture back into your cooking pot, and bring it to a boil. Turn off the heat and add the pectin, mixed with a few tablespoons of sugar, to keep it from staying chunky in the jam. Bring your jam back to a boil and cook it on high heat for about 5 minutes. Remember, you want the jam to reach 221 degrees to insure a nice set. Feel free to skim off any unsightly foam from the top of the jam. If you do, return the jam to a boil before carefully pouring the jam into your jars. This recipe should produce about 3 pints of jam.
As you can see from the photo above, we are enjoying the jam with warm biscuits (gluten-free, of course) right out of the oven.