Although I tend to associate canning and food preservation with the end of the summer and fall, it is a great way to make use of large quantities of fruit any time of the year, and it is so satisfying to be able to serve something completely homemade. I had bought a box of pears from a friend’s daughter for a 4-H fundraiser, and it made a delightful batch (four batches, actually) of sweet, tangy jam. We’ll enjoy some of it, but the majority of it will be set aside for wedding favors!
Simple tends to be how I roll, so I just used a SureJell jam recipe, with excellent results! It is extremely difficult to go wrong with fruit, sugar, and lemon juice. I did two double batches. A double batch is manageable, but I wouldn’t go over that.
4 cups finely chopped pears
2 tablespoons lemon juice
5 cups sugar
1 package SureJell pectin (not the low sugar kind)
1/2 teaspoon butter or margarine to prevent foaming
Prepare jars and lids and set in a clean and accessible place, ready to be filled. Washing the jars is sufficient, but I did pour boiling water over the lids. This jam is processed for 10 minutes (or more depending on altitude), so no need to sterilize the jars. Recipe yields about 6 cups of jam. I used half and quarter pint jars.
Wash and finely chop pears, measuring out 4 cups into a saucepan. No need to peel the fruit. Add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice early on to prevent browning. Stir in 1 package of SureJell powdered pectin and mix thoroughly. Add the butter or margarine, and heat the mixture on high, stirring constantly until it reaches a full rolling boil (doesn’t stop boiling when stirred). Add the sugar to the fruit mixture and bring to a rolling boil, stirring constantly, and boil for 1 minute.
Remove from heat, skim off any foam that forms (it wasn’t necessary with this jam), and ladle immediately into jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe of the rims and threads of the jars, and seal with lids and rings, tightening the rings finger tight. Process in a water bath canner, adding enough water to cover the jars by 1-2 inches. Bring water to a boil and process for 10 minutes, or adjust for altitude. Where I live, it is a 20 minute process time. Remove from water bath canner and allow to cool, checking for successful seal as they cool. If the lid doesn’t pop down, the jam didn’t seal. Do this as you go, and you can replace any lids that don’t seal and reprocess the jar as above.
As always happens with jam and jelly, there is just enough left over to make a partial jar, or a couple of jars that didn’t fit with the rest of the jars aren’t worth doing another 20 minute process to finish them. These become refrigerator jams! And I have to say the warm jam was decadent on a piece of homemade bread, toasted with butter!
Enjoy this little taste of summer!