I have been blessed with a reliable and prolific Asian pear tree in my back yard (unlike my zucchini plants). This was another bumper crop weighing in around 30 pounds, not counting the “downer fruit” that I gave to the chickens. As such, I have a two goto recipes to put away these delicious pears for the months ahead. There is no reason these couldn’t be adapted for other pear varietals, in fact most recipes aren’t written for Asian pears, so I am always pleased when they work out.
Pear Spread – adapted from The Joy of Jams and Jellies (L. Ziedrich)
- 3 pounds ripe pears, peeled, cored and cut into chunks
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 5 cups sugar
- If wanting to do low sugar version: use half the sugar and low sugar pectin 1 – 2 Tablespoons
- Extra credit: vanilla bean/paste, candied or minced fresh ginger etc
Makes about 3 pints. Technically this is a jam recipe but I call it a spread so that there aren’t any “expectations” not met if it doesn’t set up perfectly….
- Combine the pears and lemon juice in a preserving pain (I use a big sauté), cover the pan and set it over low heat.
- Simmer the pears, stirring occasionally until they are soft, 20-30 minutes.
- Puree the pears in a blender. Be careful they are hot and you need to let the steam escape. Start at a low speed and increase to avoid it sputtering out on you! You could also use a food mill or processor.
- Return the pear puree to the pan and stir in sugar (and pectin if using). Over low heat, stir until the sugar dissolves and then raise the heat to medium high. Add the ginger if using. Bring to a boil and continue to boil it stirring constantly (of find someone else to stir) for 15 minutes, until the mystical test of heavy falling jam is passed. Remove the pan from heat and stir until bubbling stops. Mix in vanilla paste at this point if using
- Ladle the jam into the prepared jars, put on the lids and process for 10 minutes.
- I use less than perfect pears to make this jam (save the prettier ones for the wine sauce, since they are whole). What does this statement mean? I cut around the wormy or bruised parts, yes there are worms (pictorial evidence below). Still standing to tell the tale.
- The low sugar version turned out great and I will likely make this the standard instead of the full sugar.
Pear Blueberry Jam
A while back I made blueberry jam and also took the chance to re-can a few jars of pear jam that didn’t seal right away and were just put right into the freezer. I wanted to keep the jams separate with a layered look, so after thawing the pear jam and reheated to a boil and ladled part of it into prepared jars, added a layer of prepared blueberry jam on top then another layer of pear etc. I processed for 10 minutes. I think that it turned out beautifully (and tastes delicious to boot).
Another favorite I have shared before but worthy of repeating, a few updates to add.
Pears in Wine Sauce– adapted from The Joy of Jams and Jellies (L. Ziedrich)
Makes perfect pears for enjoying on the spot or canning for later (Gifts! Holidays! Pretty in jars!)
- 3 cups red wine (aka one bottle) – recommend not too tannic, I just use what is around the house and not spendy
- ~ 3/4 cup sugar
- Cinnamon sticks (2-4 inches)
- 4 lbs pears
Makes about 2 quarts, but not super specific. I recommend pint jars, enough for about 3-4 servings with a quality vanilla ice cream. Ok to double, triple this recipe, as long as your pot is big enough
- Peal, core and slice pears. I use a melon baller for easy and nice looking coring. Also, sometimes I leave a stem on for decoration.
- Bring wine, sugar and cinnamon to a boil. Add pears and let them poach for ~ 15 minutes. With Asian pears they don’t really get soft, but you would want to watch that with other types
- Transfer the pears into the jars. then add in liquid. Pack them in. Using big and small pear slices help. Some are full halves, others quarter or smaller pears. Leave about 1/2 inch head space.
- Process in hot water bath for 25 minutes. Let sit in canner with heat off for 5 minutes or so.
- To serve: heat and bring liquid to a boil, remove pears to individual bowls and reduce the wine sauce a little more if you like. Scoop up each bowl with vanilla ice cream and then ladle in some of the sauce (melty!) and if you like sprinkle a touch of crunchy granola on top.
- I have made these with white wine and the turned out tasty but I think the red looks prettier in the jar. I prepared them for a dinner party recently and mixed together a jar of white wine and two red. Turned out as good as ever.