When I was a child my grandfather owned a small pear orchard. He had inherited some land from his parents (my great-grandparents) and decided to plant a lot of pear trees. So, during the summers spent with my grandparents, we mostly ate...pears.
There were also a few apple trees, but those apples tended to ripe late, and one fig tree but as a child I really wasn't into figs (though I love them today). There were really a lot of pears, and we had to be creative in finding ways to use them. But mostly, my grandmother, and then my mother, made jam.
The thing with pears, however, is that they are very juicy when ripe and jam tends to be too liquid unless it spends hours on the stove, which is neither cheap nor healthy as a lot of the fruit vitamins are lost with too much heat. Adding a few apples will solve that problem, as both the less juicy nature of the apples and the pectin present in them will contribute to a nice creamy jam in a lot less time.
We no longer own the pear orchard, it was sold a little over ten years ago, after my grandfather passed away and while my mother did inherit his old house, it's garden boasts one single old pear tree which only produces about half a dozen pears a year, rarely more than that.
But can I live without pear jam all year long? Of course not. Actually, it's the only jam I really love. My husband buys a lot of strawberry or cherry jam, my mother in law makes fig or peach jam every year, but I never eat them. I keep yearning for the pear jam of my youth.
For years, my mother made several batches of pear jam during the summer, but as she got older, it became difficult for her to peel and cut large amounts of fruit and these days I avoid asking her to do it. This year I decided to take matters into my own hands, requested grandma's recipe, bought a bag of pears and apples and made my own jam!
And because it's so easy, I decided to share it here.
To make a batch of apple and pear jam, you will need:
- about 1 kilogram of peeled & sliced apples and pears. Feel free to mix different types of pears and apples. The recipe calls for equal parts of apples and pears, but if the pears are too juicy, you should use a bit less pears and more apples
- 700 grams of sugar
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- a few drops of lemon juice (optional)
To increase the size of your batch of jam, just adjust the ingredients proportionally.
Slice the apples and pears into a large pan until you reach the desired weight.
Add the sugar, the cinnamon sticks and the lemon juice and let it boil slowly. In theory, because pears are naturally juicy, it's not necessary to add any water, but check it regularly and add half a cup if you think it's too dry.
Let it boil for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring once in a while, until all the fruit is soft.
Remove the cinnamon sticks and if you like to have little pieces of fruit in you jam, just use a wooden spoon to reduce the biggest chunks and let the others be.
I usually prefer my jam to be pureed, so that's what I did.
Let the jam slowly boil for another 15 to 20 minutes until it acquires a nice golden color and the excess liquid has evaporated.
Pour into sterilized jars for maximum conservation (my grandmother sterilized the jars with boiling water and I did the same) and enjoy!
It's simple and easy and there is really no need to add more ingredients than these, the more natural the better. And now I can have pear jam all year long again!
Have a wonderful week,