Now that’s it’s really fall I don’t feel quite so bad about writing about pears. They’re supposed to be a fall fruit, after all, but my pear tree apparently didn’t get the memo as it dropped at least 35 pounds of fruit in August. I felt a little better sharing my Pear and Cape Gooseberry Jam recipe because it wasn’t all fall fruit, and I previewed the 25 pounds of pears I before they were processed, but now I want to share some of the peary interesting (sorry, couldn’t help it with the pun!) things I did with all that fruit to save it for the rest of the year. Come back tomorrow for a pear jam recipe!
It had been a while since I had done any canning so I started off easy by making “spirited” pears. These guys are swimming in syrup and white rum (below left) or brandy. I was actually going to continue on after making these but I busted a jar while I was processing and lost a whole jar. I already gifted one small jar but have yet to hear how the results are. I haven’t tried these yet but I have great visions of pear cocktails, ice cream with spirited pears and spirited pear cake.
My aunt gifted me a new canning book, Saving the Season, shortly before we moved and while I still haven’t flipped through the whole thing, I cut straight to the pear recipes. I skipped past piquant pears (sounds like a type of pickle…) for the classic vanilla bean pear jam. The recipe also had a cardamom variation so since I wasn’t lacking in pears, I made both. These were my first time making jam without pectin and while it took longer than I expected, I think the results are pretty amazing. They’re both slightly softer than a store bought jam but, boy, they are good. Recipe coming tomorrow!
In order not to end up with several cases of jam I also tried a ginger, pear, lemon marmalade. Holy smokes this one is good. Slight spice from the ginger, tangy from the lemon and sweetness from the pear. A beautiful combination that makes me not want to part with any of these three pints.
When I knew I was going to be canning pears I knew I wanted to make this Pear Vanilla Jam from Food in Jars. It’s very similar to the above jam with vanilla but it uses liquid pectin which makes for shorter cooking time. Unfortunately, this was the last jam I worked on and by that point it was getting to be time for dinner and the house was about a million degrees. I took a short cut and didn’t check to see that this got to the gel stage, instead just putting it in the jars for processing. Despite having pectin, it never hit the gel stage and won’t quite set which means this one isn’t so much a jam as vanilla pear sauce. But wait, silver lining, this is so, so, so good on ice cream or stirred into plain yogurt. I haven’t made it a layer in a cake yet but you can bet that will happen if I have any left. I already finished a jar by using it in yogurt and with ice cream. I love the texture as well as the light vanilla flavor and it’s such a treat to have it as part of breakfast or dessert.
All in all I wound up with about two and a half cases of jam, marmalade and spirited pears. Christmas shopping is done. 😉 It was a long, hot day to do a total of six batches of canned goods but hopefully it will be worth it. I learned last year that less people were excited about hot pepper relish and pickles so this should be a better hit.