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Pear Preserves

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As the apple is to New England, so the pear is to the Northwest. Here in Southern Oregon’s Rogue Valley (home of Harry and David whose very name suggests all things pear), pear orchards dot the landscape. With their infinite variety, mouthwatering juiciness and flavor, and appealing shapes in shades of green and gold, it’s no wonder the pear is revered and portrayed artfully throughout history.

We are fortunate to have such a pear tree right outside our back kitchen door. This year our marvelous old pear tree yielded a bumper crop which I could not ignore. Hence, the search began in earnest for pear recipes to turn into luscious delights to tantalize taste buds at breakfast and beyond.

With a few adaptations, I created and canned four pear preserve type recipes, two that I feel particularly worthy and not too time consuming. Gathering together with a few friends to make these preserves makes the job fun and will lighten the tasks at hand! Presented as gifts or served alongside a special holiday dinner, both of these are easy and satisfying to make. They have the added option of canning (for later use) or if you choose to give as a gift, merely putting them up in pretty jars to either refrigerate or freeze for a period of time for your recipient to enjoy. Both of the recipes below lend themselves to doubling.

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Directions

Spiced Pear Jam

8 cups peeled finely chopped ripe pears (Bartlett or Anjou work best)
3 cups sugar
1 teaspoon (heaping) ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

 

  1. Add all the ingredients to a large pot (or Dutch Oven).
  2. Bring mixture to a boil and stir constantly.
  3. Lower the heat and simmer, stirring frequently, for one to two hours (or until thickened).
  4. Slightly mash. (It’s OK to be a bit chunky).
  5. Skim off any foam.
  6. Pour into hot sterilized jars, filling to about ¼ inch from the top.
  7. Remove air bubbles and wipe jar rims.
  8. Cover quickly with metal lids and screw on bands.
  9. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. *

 

Pear – Cherry Chutney

5 cups peeled finely chopped ripe pears
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup dried tart red cherries
2 tsp. finely shredded lemon peel
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1.2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground allspice

 

  1. In a large saucepan combine sugar, cherries, lemon peel, lemon juice, cinnamon, and allspice.
  2. Bring to boiling; reduce heat to medium-low.
  3. Simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Stir in pears; return to boiling.
  5. Simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes or until pears are just tender.
  6. Pour immediately into hot sterilized jars, filling to about ¼ inch from the top.
  7. Remove air bubbles and wipe jar rims
  8. Cover quickly with metal lids and screw on bands.
  9. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. *

 

* Alternatively, for both of the above recipes, you may do the following in place of the last (water bath)step:
Transfer to a storage container or glass jars for gift giving. Cover and chill in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks. Or place in a freezer container; cover and freeze up to 6 months.

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