Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Putting Up: Pear Ginger Marmalade

I'm starting to think that what I should have done was freeze things like tomatoes, blueberries and such and save the canning for winter when the extra heat from the stove is welcome and I'm looking for things to do indoors.  Live and learn.

I spent Black Friday (um, yeah, this post is a little late) canning Pear Ginger Marmalade (from the *awesome* Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving) and Apple Cider Cardamom Butter with the help of my mom and grandmother.  We avoided the insanity of shopping, spent some quality time together and created some delicious spreads that make a simple toasted baguette a gourmet breakfast.  I've been hoarding jam since my first batch of Strawberry Balsamic Black Pepper Jam.  I'm thinking that the neighbors will be receiving a jar of jam and a bag of homemade granola sometime soon.

This recipe is not only seasonal, but versatile.  Sure, you can enjoy or bread or any other baked good, but it would also make a bowl of vanilla ice cream (just warm the jam up first) or a fat slice of brie a bit more special.  Enjoy.

Pear Ginger Marmalade (makes 4 half-pint jars)
3 limes or 2 lemons (Note: I doubled the recipe and used a mix of lemons & limes.  I found the lemons infinitely easier to peel and the peel seemed to soften up better when cooking)
8 c thinning sliced, cored and peeled ripe pears (I sliced them long-ways, but in future batches, I would make shorter slices as the longer ones can make eating awkward)
4 c granulated sugar (I've heard to not use off-brand sugar as it's often not real cane sugar and that can affect jell.  In recipes without pectin, I stay cautious and shell out for Domino or other real cane sugar)
3 tbsp chopped crystallized ginger
1.25 c water

1. Peel limes/lemons being careful not to get too much pith.  Cut peel into very thin strips and set aside.

2. In another container, juice into large non-reactive container, add in pears, sugar and ginger.  Toss to combine well.  Cover and set at room temperature for an hour.

3. Prepare jars & lids.

4. In small saucepan, add water and peel.  Bring to a boil and cook for about 15 minutes.  The peel should be tender and most of the water should be reduced.

5. Bring pear mixtures to a full boil for 15 minutes, stirring frequently.  If desired, use immersion blender for a few pulses to puree some of the pears.  Add peel and boil until mixture reaches gel stage, about 5 minutes (Note: Mine did not reach gel stage after 5 minutes.  It took more like 20 and that was still iffy.  However, once it cooled, it was perfect).

6. Ladle into hot jars, remove air bubbles, wipe down rim and put on lids.  Process in boiling water for 10 minutes.  Wait 5 minutes, then remove jars, cool and test seal.

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