Pear-cranberry jam

It’s pretty much the end of the canning season here in New York, at least when it comes to local fruits. My last few batches almost always involve cranberries, even though they’re not really a local product (at least, I’ve never seen them at greenmarkets around here). But combine cranberries with our usual fall crop of apples or pears, and the result is seasonal and delicious. Last year, I made a habañero-cranberry jam for Thanksgiving. This year, I’ve made a pear-cranberry jam based on Marisa McClellan’s recipe on Food in Jars. Both fruits pair nicely with rich spices and brown sugar for a perfect late fall treat.

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Pear-Cranberry Jam

  • 4 cups cored and chopped pears
  • 4 cups cranberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 cups brown sugar (do not pack)
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 lemon, juiced and zested (or 2-3 Tbsp. bottled lemon juice)

Prepare your waterbath canner and four half pint (8 oz.) jam jars.

In your jam pot, combine chopped pear, cranberries, water, and sugar. Stir to combine, then allow to sit for 10 minutes or until the sugar has dissolved and the fruit has started to release some juice.

Turn heat to high and bring the mixture to a boil. At this point you should notice the cranberries starting to pop (this is my favorite part of making jams with cranberries). Reduce heat slightly and allow to maintain a low boil. Cook for 20-25 minutes, stirring frequently, until it has reduced and thickened. It should look more or less like jam at this point.

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Stir in spices, lemon juice, and zest (if using), and cook for another couple minutes, just to meld the flavors.

Funnel jams into prepared jars, leaving 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch head space. Wipe the rims with a damp paper towel to remove any errant jam, then apply lids and rings. Process for 10 minutes.

Once the processing time is up, remove the jars using your jar lifter, and allow to cool on a folded kitchen towel. Once the jars have cooled, remove the rings and check the seal by pulling up on the lids. Some people also turn jars upside down to test the seal, though this can get messy if a jar has not sealed properly.

If any jars have not sealed, you can process them again after checking the jar’s rim to make sure there are no chips or flaws and wiping again to remove any jam residue. If you find that a jar does have a defect, transfer the jam to a new jar before reprocessing. Always use a new lid if you are reprocessing a jar.

Notes:

1. You’ll notice from my pictures that I did not peel the pears before cooking. This is an extra and unnecessary step, since the skins will melt into the jam as it cooks and have no effect on the end texture.

2. Feel free to play around with spices! What I’ve put here are the flavors I like, but there is no reason for you to use those spices just because I did. Play around with them

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