Pear and ginger jam - small batch (three jars) of no added pectin pear and ginger jam. Lovely as part of a Winter breakfast spread, in a cake or as gifts.
Owning your own fruit trees has both positives and negatives, of course it is lovely to have an abundance of food which you have grown yourself, but you can also end up with more fruit than you know what to do with.
I gave some away of course, but still managed to end up with a bowl-full of slightly mushy pears; still fine to eat but past the point where you would want to eat them as they are.
The best possible use for them I figured was jam; which is also great to give away (not long till Christmas!) if you happen to end up with too much of it but it keeps a good deal longer than fresh fruit.
Pear And Ginger Jam:
I decided to make the jam a bit more wintry with the addition of warming ginger; I used both grated fresh ginger and finely chopped stem ginger for a nice ginger kick; if you would like it to be more of a hint of ginger than a full-on flavour then you can omit the stem ginger.
Pears are a low-pectin fruit so you wont be able to make a good pear jam without the addition of pectin.
To get round this, rather than adding pectin or using jam sugar I included some very finely minced cooking apples (also from the garden), which are high in pectin and ensure a good set.
If you want to use all pears rather than a mixture of pears and apples then you can replace the apples with the same weight of pears and either use jam sugar in place of the granulated or add in some liquid pectin.
This is a fairly firm-set jam with a lovely warming flavour, perfect for a winter breakfast spread on toast or croissants.
I also think it would make a lovely cake filling and I have been having ideas for a wintry version of a Victoria sponge filled with pear and ginger jam.
The recipe just makes a small batch of jam - about three medium (212-250ml) sized jars; one for you, two for gifts! But the recipe is easily doubled if needed, just make sure that you use a really deep pan to make it in as jam really bubbles up when it boils and you don't want it to spill over.
Top Tips For Making Jam:
Making your own jam may seem like a daunting task, but it is actually quite a simple process involving very few ingredients, and homemade jam is far superior to shop bought. Follow these tips for making jam at home and you will be well on your way to making your own delicious jam!
Always use a bigger pan than you think you will need, the jam bubbles up A LOT and you really don't want an overflow of molten, red-hot sugar.
Check which fruits need added pectin and which don't. To make jam using most sweet berries, ripe peaches and plums or pears, you will need to use jam sugar or mix with high pectin fruit to ensure a good set. When using fruits that are naturally high in pectin such as apples, citrus fruits and sour berries you don't need to add extra pectin so can just use granulated sugar.
Always add some acid in the form of lemon juice if the fruit you are using isn't naturally acidic; it helps to extract pectin from the fruit and enhances the flavour and colour of the jam.
Use fruit that is just ripe, or slightly underripe, and unblemished for the best results; you can still make jam with less than perfect fruit but it wont be quite as nice.
Jam sets at 105ºC (220ºF), you can use a sugar thermometer to tell when the jam has reached setting point but you don't need one; instead use the wrinkle test – before starting your jam, place a couple of saucers in the freezer, once the jam has boiled rapidly for 5-10 minutes, remove it from the heat and place a small dollop of the jam on one of the saucers. Place it in the fridge for a minute or so then push at it with your finger, if the surface wrinkles and the jam doesn't run back together to fill the gap then it is ready. If not then bring the pot back up to the boil for another five minutes then test again until it is ready.
Sugar has a hardening effect, so any tough skinned fruits should be simmered until softened before adding the sugar otherwise they will remain tough.
Always make sure that the sugar is completely dissolved before you bring the jam to a boil, otherwise the jam may not set properly and be grainy.
Don't make too large a quantity of jam in one go as it will take to long to boil and will therefore be difficult to get it to set.
Only skim the scum off the surface once the jam has reached setting point; you can use a ladle to skim it off, or you can stir in a small knob of butter which will disperse the scum.
Always use sterilised jars; to sterilise, wash the jars and lids in hot soapy water, rinse well then lay on a roasting tray and place in the oven on a low heat for about half an hour. The jars and jam should both be hot when you pot the jam so sterilise them just before you start the jam and leave them in the oven until needed.
If the jam hasn't set after it has been potted and cooled, you can tip it back into the saucepan along with the juice of a lemon and re-boil until setting point is reached.
More Jam Recipes:
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Pear And Ginger Jam
- 400 g (14oz) (prepared weight) peeled and cored pears chopped into small dice
- 150 g (5.5oz) (prepared weight) peeled and cored cooking apple very finely minced
- finely grated zest and juice of 1 small lemon
- 1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
- 100 ml (scant ½ cup) water
- 400 g (2 cups) granulated sugar
- 2 balls stem ginger finely chopped
- Place a couple of saucers into the freezer and sterilise your jars; I do this by washing them in hot, soapy water, rinsing well then placing the jars, and their lids, in the oven on a low heat until needed.
- Place the pears, apples, lemon zest and juice, ginger and water into a deep, heavy bottomed saucepan. Bring up to a simmer and simmer gently for about 15 minutes, until the fruit is tender.
- Stir in the sugar and stem ginger and heat gently until the sugar has completely dissolved.
- Turn up the heat and cook at a rapid boil for about 10 minutes, or until it reaches 105C on a thermometer; stir regularly to prevent it from catching on the bottom.
- Remove from the heat and place a teaspoonful of the jam on one of the cold saucers; pop it in the fridge for a minute then push at it with a finger, if the surface of the jam wrinkles then it is ready; if not then return the pan to a rapid boil for another five minutes then remove from the heat and check again.
- Allow the jam to cool for 5-10 minutes, then ladle it into hot sterilised jars, seal and allow to cool. Once opened keep refrigerated.