Sunday, September 23, 2007

Save the Last Jam for Me

I'm up early today since my schedule is full and my kitchen soon will be, so I decided to start the day (after a hearty breakfast, of course) by dealing with two pounds of very ripe pears.

As much as I want to wrap up this year's canning, I'm still not immune to ideas from other people. And when Dear Reader Tina called to chat with me last weekend, she mentioned finding pear-ginger jam at her local farmers' market.

I was hooked. Pears I love, and pears with ginger have to be (in my book) easily the most delightful combination of fall flavors I can imagine.

So when I saw yesterday that the Madcap Farmer had more of his luscious Bartlett pears for sale, I snagged some, knowing full well that I'd have to try making one more micro-batch of jam for the year.

As I peeled and cored the pears, they started to turn to mush in my hands, so I crushed them right into the saucepan with the fresh minced ginger. (There's something deeply satisfying about using my hands so directly in cooking... messy, yes, but oh so much fun!) I added a bit of lime juice to keep the pears from browning too much, and then I drizzled some good local honey into the mix.

I set jars and rings and lids into my "baby" canner and turned on the heat while I set the jam mixture on the next burner and slowly brought it up to the boil. While it simmered, thickening only just a little, I stirred and kept the fragrance rising to my nose.

When I judged that it was about as thick as it would get, I took out the jars, filled them, topped them with hot lids and rings, and set them into the canner to process for 15 minutes. And shortly after that, I heard a trio of loud pings, that happy chorus that lets me know the jars have sealed.

Though the jam turned out chunky but a little runny, almost closer to a pear version of applesauce, I'm really looking forward to trying it, possibly over gingerbread pancakes some winter morning.

But don't expect me to save you some... this last jam is for me!

Pear-Ginger Jam

2 pounds pears, peeled, cored, crushed
1/2" fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 tsp lime juice
1/4 c honey

Combine ingredients in saucepan. Heat to a boil, stirring constantly, then turn heat down and simmer for about 15 minutes. Pour into hot sterilized jars, cap with hot lids and rings, and process in a hot water bath for 15 minutes.

Makes 1 1/2 pints



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