Super-Easy Pear Jam

March 21, 2013

I haven’t made jam since … eesh. Before Christmas. (That batch was quince. Ah, gorgeous quince, but that’s not today’s post!)  I’ve been busy and kinda run-down. Doing better, so I made jam today.

How do you detect a perfectly ripe Bartlett pear? It should be a warm just-turned-yellow color with speckles, and deliciously fragrant. Your Bartletts are green and hard? No problem! Pears don’t ripen until they’re picked. Set them out and they’ll ripen on the counter over the course of a few days. It won’t hurt to use some slightly underripe pears, but you may need to cook them longer. Could you make this with D’Anjou or Bosc pears? Sure. They’re not as sweet, so you may not get as much yield — jam yields depend on the sugar in the fruit and the sugar you add. Don’t want apple pie spice? Leave it plain, or use your favorite sweet spice blend (look, poudre douce again!), or a splash of vanilla. Never canned? This will make fine freezer jam.

Super-Easy Pear Jam

Makes approximately 7 half-pints. I got just under 8, but I like my jam soft. If you like it firmer, you’ll get a bit less.

  • 3 1/4 lb. delicious juicy-ripe Bartlett pears
  • generous 1/4 c. lemon juice
  • about 5 c. sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. apple pie spice

Prepare your canner, jars, and lids if you’re canning. Otherwise, set out some freezer-safe containers. Set out a blender or food processor. I use an immersion blender because I’m lazy, and because I don’t like scooping hot-like-lava food into a blender.

You can peel the pears if you like. I don’t bother. I like a bit of texture in my jam, and the skins are full of nutrients. Core the pears and chop into small chunks. Put the pears and the lemon juice in a wide saucepan, cover with a lid, and bring to a simmer over low heat. Cook for about 25-30 minutes, until the pears mash easily with a spoon. Puree the pears with your blender or food processor — be careful, it’s hot! You can leave some small chunks if you like; it doesn’t have to be perfectly smooth.

Add the pears back to the pan and set the heat to low. Add the sugar and 1/4 tsp. apple pie spice. The spice here is supposed to be subtle — the jam should taste like delicious sweet pear, only better. If you want it more pie-like, you can add more spices.

Stir the pear mixture until the sugar is all dissolved, then raise the heat to medium-high. Boil the jam vigorously for 10-15 minutes, until it sheets off a spoon or mounds in a chilled dish. This went very quickly for me. I think it was because my pears were so sweet that there wasn’t a lot to boil down. Ladle hot jam into hot jars (pints or half-pints), cover with lids and bands, and process in a boiling-water bath for 10 minutes. Or allow to cool and scoop into freezer containers and freeze.

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