seasonal kitchen : vanilla pear jam

by - Monday, January 07, 2013

My Pa loved pears more than anyone I had ever met, but despite his constant urging I wouldn't have anything to do with them.  Now much later in life, I've gotten over my silly fear of their texture, and have been savoring every bite of these juicy fruits.  Pears to me will always be a fruit to be enjoyed in the winter, simmered or poached with soft spices and sweet honey.  This was my first attempt at any type of jam, and I'm pleased with the way it turned out!  What makes me most happy is that while I would have normally had to use almost 55-85% sugar to "set" the jam with pectin (which is normally loaded with preservatives), I found an amazing alternative that allowed me to only use a few tablespoons of honey and nothing more.  Perfection!  I had already fallen in love with the idea of a low to no sugar jam - then finding out it was naturally free from preservatives... could this be real?



• 4 bartlett pears, diced
• 2 vanilla beans, scraped
• 1 tsp. cinnamon
• 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
• 2-3 tbsp. orange blossom honey
• 2-3 canning jars
• pomona's universal pectin


Start by dicing your pears and adding them to a medium-sized pot along with vanilla beans, spices, and a splash of water.  Simmer on the stove on low heat until pears can be easily softened with a potato-masher.  Turn off heat.  Follow directions on the box of Pomona's to add pectin and calcium water mixture (included in box) to the honey, then add to the fruit on the stove.  Bring back to a rolling boil for just a minute or two to dissolve pectin, then set aside.  Funnel jam into sterile canning jars, wipe mouths clean with a paper towel.  Boiling jars of newly added jam is recommended to create a tight seal.  Jam will last for around 3 weeks once opened. Serves two small canning jars.

Continuing on in a series of seasonally inspired posts.

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  1. Yum! I am such a fan of jam :) I've never tried making my own before though, but your directions make it sound easy enough to try!

  2. Oh I love pear jam so much... pear anything, really! Also, if you're looking for a pectin alternative... did you know that apples contain a high concentration of pectin? My mom used to make jam at the end of every summer, and I remember her adding apples to reduce the need for extra sugar/pectin. I don't really know anything about it, personally, but maybe a quick google would lead the way to pectin-free jam?

  3. My grandparents have a pear tree just outside their back door. When we would visit them my brother and I would sneak a few off the branches. My grandma would make pear jelly and pear butter, along with all kinds of other butters and jams, and send them to me. I always thought it was much more involved to make them.

  4. This sounds delicious. I want to start making jams.

  5. My daughter loves pears! I definitely need to make this for her : )

  6. what a delicious treat! I love this recipe.
    Great photos!!
    Your blog is so beautiful and the name of it is perfect! =)

  7. Vanilla pear jam! Oh that sounds delicious! Thanks for sharing your recipe!

  8. So divine and such beautiful imagery to go with it! x

  9. I'm all about poached pears in red wine in winter...mmmmm.
    But this look so tempting..

    and I think this magic-pectin means you don't even need to boil up sugar to unholy temperatures?! (my greatest jam-making fear is of maiming due the molten sugar...a little pathetic, I know)


  10. Your photos are so beautiful! This recipe is amazing and I cannot wait to try it out! Thanks for sharing.

    Jess from Dream Catcher Baby blog

  11. That is so cool that you got over your "thing" with pears, because they are so so yummy and juicy, I ADORE them! Although, I can't imagine it as a spread, so I'm going to give this a try, thank you Kate :)

  12. Beautiful reader (and follower) of your blog!

  13. Looks so amazing. Can you please send some my way? What a wonderful recipe to only use such a small amount of honey.
    Always love visiting your corner here - it's always so beautiful...
    Ronnie xo

  14. A few summers ago I attempted to make cherry jam. It tasted good but man oh man I pitted those little buggers for hours! Only to remember that my dad owns a cherry pitter. I think choosing a simpler fruit, ie pears, is the way to go.