I've never been that girl before. I always wanted to be that girl... the one who makes her own jams, preserving the flavor of the season for her family and friends to enjoy all winter long. Today, windows open enjoying the fresh fall air, I made homemade pear vanilla jam. Today I was that girl. Finally.
Out of necessity I was nudged out of my comfort zone and gave canning a whirl. I've always wondered why they call it "canning" and not "jarring"? Anyone? You do infact put the jam in jars not cans.
I'm cooking for a party of 200 this Friday (yikes, what am I doing at the computer?) which is to be heavy hors d'oeuvres passed throughout the evening. For one hors d'oeuvre, I came up with the idea of making a pear shaped tartlet on which to put a small slice of Gorgonzola or Brie cheese and top it with a dollop of pear jam. Unfortunately, the good "online" pear jam was $13.95 per jar plus shipping. I'll need about 6 jars... not cost effective for this use. I decided to try making it myself. I consulted the blog www.foodinjars.com for ideas and found just the recipe I was looking for. Using a current recipe from a trusted source is key because the last thing you want to do is get someone you love sick.
Wow. The flavor. The essense of pear and vanilla. This jam will knock your socks off. So worth it.
I cannot get over how simple canning is. Who knew? And this recipe didn't even require that I peel the pears first.
I have to admit though, after I bought the big canning pot and all the cool canning supplies, it would have been less expensive to go ahead and purchase a bunch of jars of pear jam from American Spoon. But this was so worth the experience and the results were fabulous. And now I'm ready for canning the next time.... because I'm now THAT girl.
Pear Vanilla Jam
(recipe adapted from the Pear Vanilla Jam recipe of www.foodinjars.com)
makes enough for seven half pint jars
8 cups chopped Barlett pears (these are thin skinned so peeling not necessary)
2 vanilla beans, split and scraped
4 cups sugar
1 packet liquid pectin (3 ounces)
In a large pot, combine pears, sugar and vanilla beans plus the luscious gooey scrapings inside. Cook over medium heat until the fruit is soft. Remove the solid vanilla beans and using an immersion blender or potato masher, break down the fruit into a smooth sauce.
Add the pectin and bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes to activate the pectin.
Heat your canning lids over low heat in a small pot of water while you are preparing the jam to ensure a good seal.
Fill your half pint sized jars. Wipe rims to remove any residual jam. Apply lids and screw on the rims.
Process the the filled jars in boiling water for 10 minutes (start the timer when the pot has returned to a boil) Remove processed jars from the pot and place them on a towel lined counter top. Let them cool undisturbed for at least two hours. During this time the lids should seal. Check to ensure the jars have sealed by pushing down on the center of the lid. If it feels solid and doesn't move, it is sealed.
Click here for printable recipe.
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