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Fig and pear preserves

Posted by Jeanne on September 27, 2010

Have I talked before about my fruit problem?

I have a fruit problem, which is that I cannot stop buying fruit.  Especially when it’s the first time I see something for the year, which is what happened with the pears.  I saw them on the co-op list and thought “ooh, pears!” and ordered 7 pounds of them.

And then I went and bought 2 more pounds of figs, which is totally unnecessary because there are only 2 people in our house and no one has that kind of vitamin deficiency…

But aren’t they so pretty?  So I made some preserves.

Fig and Pear Preserves, inspired by this recipe tested by David Hagedorn for the Washington Post in 2007.

7 lbs. pears, cored and cut into 1-inch chunks
2 lbs. dried figs, stemmed and cut in quarters
3 medium lemons, quartered and seeded
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 cardamom pods
0.5 C honey
2 C sugar
1.25 C water

Directions:

To prepare for canning: Wash 10 half-pint jar sized new lids in hot, soapy water and rinse well (or 2 half-pint jar lids and 4 pint jar lids… we’re running out of jars.). Run the bands and jars through the dishwasher including a sertilize cycle.  Do not put the lids in the dishwasher.

Fill the canner and place over medium heat.

In a large, nonreactive pot over medium-high heat, combine the pears, figs, lemon, vanilla extract, cinnamon, cardamom pods, honey, sugar, and water.

Good lord, bad color.  Sigh.

Cook for about 1 hour, uncovered, stirring often.  The pears should be soft but still hold their shape and the liquid will have reduced by an inch or two.

Remove lemon quarters and cardamom pods.  Blend it somewhat if you want a smoother preserve, or leave it with the chunks of fruit.  Raise the heat on the canner to high.

Talbot!!!!  Hee.

Fill each sterilized, still hot, jar with the fruit mixture, leaving 1/2 inch of head space. Use a nonreactive spatula or chopstick to remove any air bubbles. Wipe the rims and necks of the jars with a clean, damp cloth. Center a heated lid on each jar and screw the bands on evenly and loosely (just enough to keep the lids in place).

Process for 10 minutes at a rolling boil – make sure the water is at least 1 inch over the top of all the jars.  When the processing is complete, transfer the jars from the canner to sit upright on a clean dish towel to cool.  When the jars are cool, test for a good seal by pressing the center of each lid. If the lid does not pop, it is sealed.  If there are any that aren’t sealed, refrigerate and use within a week.

I like the smooth texture, but if you want to see the fruit you certainly could blend it less (or not at all).  I think next time I might experiment with pectins to see if I could get it to set up more firmly, or use very little water… so many experiments in the kitchen, so little time.

And there you have it.  I need more jars, stat.

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