The truth is I love making preserves so much I’d sacrifice the right to make anything else to keep on making jam. In the past couple of weeks I’ve made about 50 jars of various jams and I’ve never been happier with an activity than this one. Feeling brave, excited and adventurous, I branched out on my own and have an original recipe to share with you today.
Making your own preserves is a feeling unlike any other. I don’t know how to explain it, but if you love cooking and have an afternoon to spare, get yourself some jars, a big pot, fruit and try it out. Here (x) are the things you will need and some basics of canning. It’s easy, but it’s also serious business. Take sterilizing seriously (here is some information on that) and enjoy the rest of the process. Store in a dark place and use within a year, which means a jar or two is the perfect holiday gift (yes, it’s swiftly on its way and I’m very happy about it).
4 cups ripe pears, chopped fine or mashed
1 package dry pectin
1 tablespoon bourbon
4 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
2 vanilla beans, split and scraped
Wash and dry jars, rings and sealing discs. Place mason jars on a rack in a boiling water canner; cover jars with water and heat to a simmer (180°F/82°C). Set screw bands aside; heat sealing discs in hot water, not boiling (180°F/82°C). Keep jars and lids hot until ready to use. In a large heavy bottomed pot, over medium high heat, mix the pears, pectin and bourbon and bring to a boil, stirring often. Next add the sugars and vanilla beans (insides and pods) and stir. Bring to a full rolling boil (which means that even when stirred it continues to bubble). Boil for one full minute. Remove from heat and take out the vanilla bean pods. Remove jars from water canner, ladle hot jam in them, measure your headspace, wipe rims and apply hot sealing disc. Screw rings only to fingertip tight and then place the jars back onto the rack in the water canner. Lower into water, making sure it is covered by at least an inch, cover and bring to a full rolling boil. Boil for ten minutes, turn off heat and then let sit for another five in the water. Remove, place on a flat surface and leave untouched for twenty-four hours. At that time, test the seals and store in a dark, cool, place. Use within one year.