I made lots of this delicious jam last month, from the Conference-type pears on our fan-trained tree. The recipe I tried came from The Cottage Smallholder, with the modification of not adding water. I’ll type out the recipe here, as promised.
Pear and Lemon Jam
Gives 3-6 jars (depending on size!)
- 2kg ripe pears – peeled, cored and chopped into small pieces
- 3 unwaxed lemons – harvest the zest and squeeze the juice
- 1 kg granulated sugar
Put the sugar in a bowl in a low oven (100 degrees C) to warm. Place the chopped pear, lemon zest and juice in a LARGE pan. Bring to the boil gently and simmer until the pear pieces are soft. If it seems too dry and likely to stick (and burn), add a little water. I found this to be unnecessary.
While the pear simmers, wash your jars and lids in hot soapy water. Rinse them and arrange them on a baking tray. Put them into the oven to keep hot (and sterile) and dry off while you finish the jam. If you are re-using jars like I do*, make sure to put the lids next to the jars they fit – that way you’ll be saved frustration when everything is hot and sticky later! Also put two or three saucers into the fridge now to get cold.
Pour the warm sugar into the pan. Heat very gently, stirring, to allow the sugar to all dissolve. Once there are no more grains of sugar, turn up the heat. You want to get a “rolling boil” where there are bubbles popping on the surface all the time. This has the potential for splashes – wear rubber gloves to save your hands – and for sticking and burning – so keep stirring!
After ten minutes you can do the first set test. (After this test about every four minutes). Take a cold saucer, drop a tiny smear of jam on, and pop it back into the fridge. After a minute, get it out and poke it with your finger. You are looking for wrinkles to form on the surface of the jam as you push it forward. If the jam is nowhere near, you won’t see anything. If it is getting closer there will be a faint wrinkling. When it’s ready the wrinkles should be easy to spot. It’s hard to describe this, but once you’ve seen it you’ll recognise it another time. When you see those wrinkles, take the pan off the heat. Jam that’s too hard to spread is a sad affair!
Now get your jars out of the oven. Don’t fill them immediately, give the fruit pieces have a chance to distribute evenly through the jam. Otherwise you get them all floating on top (like my strawberry jam this year!). If there is bubbly scum on the surface of the jam, put a weeny bit of butter in – the foam should disperse like magic.
When I fill jars I scoop jam out of the pan with a plastic jug and use that to pour with. My jam pan is too big and heavy to pour directly or accurately. I also make a big sticky mess because I have yet to invest in a jam funnel! Once your jars are full (if you have a bit left over, put it into a glass bowl ready for the breakfast table tomorrow!), put the lids on and screw them up tight. As the jam cools you will hear the lids “pop” the seals tight. If any lids are still “pop-able” once cool, they haven’t sealed. You’ll need to eat them up first as they won’t keep. Remember the jars you’ve just filled are hot, so handle with care.
Here’s a jar all dressed up to give to my builder who admired the pears so very much while they were still on the tree!
The jam is delicately flavoured and very beautiful – a tawny amber colour. I used golden granulated sugar (unrefined) rather than white sugar, so this probably made the colour a little darker. I find it very good with a brioche roll…
* You can save jars from any foods. But those that contained things like pickled onions (!) will have tainted smelling lids. You can save those for chutneys and pickles if you prefer. But if the jars are a fairly standard size you can get round the problem by buying a bag of new lids. New jars can be expensive to buy due to shipping costs. I keep a standard lid by the sink to try on empty jars I’ve washed up before I decide whether to keep them.