October 31, 2012
This is the 2nd year that Jaime has brought me a whole flat of fresh pears from her tree and I have been over-joyed to be able to make fresh pear jam. The pears are so perfectly sweet that I stuck with an incredibly simple jam recipe that is basically pears and sugar, so that the flavor of the pears really shines. Making jam and canning is one of the activities that centers me, makes me breathe deeply, and brings me back to gratefulness. My grandmother and mother before me both made relish and pickles, but I really came to canning and jam making on my own when I lived in my little apartment in Davenport. I remember clearly the first time I helped my friends at the R.I. Catholic Worker House can tomatoes and saw how easy it was to do hot-water bath canning, and how I could do that with the plentiful tomatoes growing in Laurette and my garden that summer. The success of that experience led to my first experimentation with blueberry jam the next summer, just after my dear Laurette had died suddenly and unexpectedly and left me reeling from my first real experience of grieving someone that dear to me. I will always equate jam making and canning with healing and creating plenty in a world that suddenly felt confusing and deeply transient. Nowadays, canning comes from a much more joyful place, but I am equally grateful each time to find myself surrounded by fresh produce, steam, and hot jars – ready to transform something transitory and short lived (like a tomato harvest or a flat of peaches or pears – thanks, Jaime!) into something that will stand ready in beautiful clear jars to feed me and those that I love over the long term.
Countryside Pear Jam
The absolute simplicity of this four-ingredient countryside pear jam recipe is only a side benefit. The star of this jam is the sparkling clear flavor of fresh pears, accented with just the tiniest dusting of cinnamon and cloves. These pear preserves are a classical, French confiture; they require no pectin, only sugar, to thicken into a hearty confection.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes
Yield: 6 half-pints
- 8 cups chopped, peeled pears
- 4 cups sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
How to make countryside pear preserves:
Add all the ingredients to a large saucepan and bring them to a simmer over medium heat. Lower the heat slightly, and simmer the jam, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 90 minutes to 2 hours.
Remove the pear jam from the heat and skim off the foam with a clean spoon. Ladle the jam into hot, sterilized half-pint jars, leaving 1/4 inch headroom. Wipe the rims with a clean towel, seal, and process in a boiling water canner for 10 to 11 minutes.
Allow the jar to cool on a clean towel and check the seals before storing the jam in a cool, dark place.