I can’t believe that October is almost over – where did this month go? Time is just flying by, and I am seriously concerned if I blink, I might just miss something big. October is my favorite season, and I love to savor every minute of it. The farmer’s markets are just overflowing with amazing produce right now – and colors. Even as busy as I have been, I have tried hard to carve out time each weekend to meander. Usually my mind starts racing though…and I think of all the things I want to make. Then I calm myself down, and decide if I can just make one favorite every weekend, that will be enough, but it never is…
Last spring when I was in Paris, we finally made it to this jam store that I had read about. We walked in, and I was overwhelmed. I thought I had a jam problem…but my pantry only has a few shelves full. This place was overflowing with jam, all types. It was incredible. Then we started sampling, and I swear I was in some type of jam coma – because why on earth would I ever buy jam? I could go into business myself. But no, I couldn’t stop myself. I ended up with this jar of Pear Vanilla Jam. It was the most delicate yet sophisticated flavor of jam, and one that I just had to have. The consistency was perfect – nice and runny. I had to make it for myself.
I have been waiting months to see if I could reproduce that delicious concoction of pear and vanilla, and finally the pears have hit the market in full force. Last weekend I gave it a try – and the flavor is spot on – the problem is that the consistency is a little more firm than I would like. I am fine with it though – once it gets on that warm English muffin, it softens right up. Although I found another really good way to serve this jam…with some creamy blue cheese. Wow. Talk about savoring the season. Just give me some cheese and this jam, and life can get as hectic as it needs to be. I will be sitting on the side, savoring every minute.
- 8 cups chopped Bartlett pears (or any smooth, thin-skinned pear. There’s no need to peel.)
- 2 vanilla beans, split and scraped
- 4 cups sugar
- 1 packet liquid pectin
In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, combine chopped pears, sugar and vanilla beans (and all that bean-y goodness you scraped out). Cook over medium heat until the fruit can easily be smashed with the back of a wooden spoon. Use a potato masher or immersion blender to break the fruit down into a mostly-smooth sauce (remove the vanilla bean solids before blending).
Add the pectin and bring to a rolling boil. Let boil for a full five minutes in order to active the pectin, so that the finished product will have a nice jammy consistency.
Fill jars, wipe rims to remove any residual jam, apply lids (heat canning lids in a small pot over very low heat while you’re preparing the jam to ensure a good seal) and screw on the rims.
Process the filled jars in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes (start the timer when the pot has returned to a boil). When the time has elapsed, remove jars from pot and place the jars on a towel-lined countertop. Let them cool undisturbed for at least two hours. During this time, the lids should seal. Check to ensure the jars have sealed by pushing down on the center of the lid. If it feels solid and doesn’t move, it is sealed.
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