I live on .25 acre. An amazing amount of food grows here-a lot of it without a lot of help from me. I was lucky enough to have mature fruit trees already here when I got my house. I have them pruned every year or so, and that’s about it.
This time of year the bounty begins. I feel obligated to use as much as possible. (I laid down to take a short nap the other day, but couldn’t sleep. I kept hearing pears and apples falling and hitting the ground. I had to get up and go collect them:) I can it, dry it, freeze it, make into pie filling, make cordials and whatever else I am inspired to try.
This week I’ve been making pear jams and preserves. I’ve made 4 batches for a total of 20 pints so far. The first batch was pear jam. This is how I do it:
Dice pears until you have about a quart of them. I usually add several apples as well for two reasons. The pectin in the apples help to thicken the jam and also because I have two apple trees. I need to use them up! Add between 1 and 3 cups sugar as you prefer. I like tasting the fruit, so I only add about a cup. Cook this down at a medium boil till thickened-about 20-30 minutes. You don’t need to stir continually but do need to do so pretty often to keep from sticking. Add a couple teaspoons clove and allspice towards the end. Have your hot water bather heating up and your jars and lids ready. I heat those up in glass dishes in my oven. When the jam is thick enough pour into the heated jars, seal and place in the hot water bather. Process for 20 minutes. This usually makes about 4 pints.
Then I got adventurous. This is the next version:
Spiced Pear Preserves.
Boil 2 cups water. Add 1 cup sugar and boil for 5 minutes. This makes a simple sugar syrup. Dice or put in food processor pears until you have about a quart. Add to syrup. Cook pears until they boil about 5 minutes. Add 2 cups sugar, 4-5 pieces cut up crystallized ginger and or orange peals, thinly sliced lemon or lime, and chopped up pecans. Just made that batch this morning, and unfortunately, I didn’t have any leftovers. So, I’ll wait till this winter to open and sample it. I like to save my canned goods till I can’t get the fresh food anymore. This also helps me look forward to winter more:)
Here’s the finished preserves-All ready to join the others in my pantry in a neat row.
I”ll talk about drying apples in the next few days.