Can-o-rama jam #2: Pear honey, pure and simple

1 11 2009
Bosc Pears, from Portland Farmers Market

Image via Wikipedia

They are the last pears of the season – Boscs, juicy and sweet. Their perfume called to me from the far end of the farm stand. They were unblemised, slightly yielding to a gentle squeeze but not yet bruised, still firm enough to eat out-of-hand and not yet ready to be stewed into pear butter.

Just perfect for these pears is the simplest of pear jams: pear honey, made with brown sugar and my current favorite jamming acidifier, white balsamic vinegar.

It’s smooth, not-too-sweet, with a hint of the grated ginger. Unfortunately, my finished jam shots are a little too dark, but I’ll upload the color-corrected picture later today. Meanwhile, I’m enjoing this last taste of summer!

Pear Balsamic Honey

3 lbs Bosc pears (peeled, cored)
2 cups brown sugar
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons fresh ginger root, grated

  • Run the peeled and cored pears through a food mill on a coarse grind (or chop very fine.)
  • Measure the fruit puree. Add the balsamic vinegar, and add water if needed so that the fruit puree measures 4 cups.
  • Stir the brown sugar and ginger root into the pear puree. Bring the mixture to a boil,
  • When the boiling puree can’t be stirred down, reduce the heat to medium and maintain the steady boil, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and sheets from the spoon. Time will vary but this takes between 25-35 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat, skim off any foam that rises, and ladle into hot jars you’ve prepared for water bath canning. Leave 1/2 inch headspace.
  • Process in hot jars according to USDA directions for hot-water bath canning (10 min. for 8 oz. jars.)

Makes about 5 jars of pear honey.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Red Jam: Watermelon

1 10 2009
Wee sweet watermelon
Image by Kodamakitty via Flickr

Okay, I’ll say it out loud — one of the foods that eased me through every chemo regimen was watermelon. Winter, summer, fall, spring; whether on oxaliplatin (nothing cold) or Folfiri (everything tasted like aluminum foil) — there was one food that always tasted like food, kept me hydrated and got me over the hump between days 2 and 5 in infusion weeks…watermelon. And Taco Bell tacos (but that’s another post in another blog!)

The last of the fresh local watermelon is now in central New York supermarkets — and I thought I’d try to make watermelon jam to save a bit of summer. The recipe I tried is from an Indian foods blog written by Chandrika and called AkshayaPatra. Chandrika’s recipe makes a very small batch, although it can easily be doubled. Just remember that jam recipes are proportional: for each 2 lbs. of fruit pulp, you’ll need 3 tablespoons of sugar and 1 tablespoon of fresh lime juice.

I used what Wegmans calls a ‘personal watermelon’ — a perfect dark green sphere less than 8″ diameter, seedless and organic. The jam is thick, brilliant red. This recipe makes about 1 cup (the watermelon will cook down quite a bit.)

Watermelon Jam

2lbs watermelon pulp (remove pulp from rind and seed the chunks)

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon lime juice

1 teaspoon lime zest (zest from about half a lime)

  • Remove the watermelon pulp from the ring and cut it into chunks. Seed the melon if seeds are present.
  • Mix the cinnamon and sugar together, and stir into the melon pulp.
  • Stir the lime juice, zest and sugar-cinnamon into the melon. Simmer about 15 minutes until the sugar has dissolved in the juice. To help break down the melon pulp, mash it in the saucepan with an immersion blender.
  • Continue to to simmer the melon-sugar mixture until it thickens and easily coats the back of a metal spoon. You can also test the jam for consistency using a spoonful of jam placed onto a very cold (frozen) plate.
  • Ladle the hot jam into sterilized jam jars and process 15 minutes in a boiling water bath canner according to USDA directions for canning. Alternately, allow the jam to cool in the containers and store in refrigerator for up to two weeks, or freezer for up to a year.

Makes about 1 cup or two half-cup containers of jam.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]