Pear Jelly was the perfect way to use up the rest of the pears that were slowly ripening in a bag by my back door. We had a lot of pears, and you can only eat so many. After giving a lot of them away, and making Pear Gorgonzola Bites, some muffins and lots of salads, I still had a lot of pears. This jelly used them all up. Which is good, because when they all get ripe at once, there's just no way we could eat them all.
Jelly Making vs Jam Making
I've made a lot of jam, but always hesitated to make jelly because it seemed complicated. What with having to extract juice from the fruit first. The first time I decided to tackle jelly making was Grape Jelly from our homegrown grapes. It turns out that there's nothing complicated about jelly making. There is, however, a little passive time involved while you wait for the juice to extract. And passive time means you can get some other stuff done. (or not).
When making jelly, you use the whole fruit, skin and all, because the skin contains a lot of the fruit's pectin. So there's a little less effort required when it comes to peeling, coring, and chopping than if you were making jam.
If you want to make some jelly, The Old Farmer's Almanac has some great info and tips. How to Make Jelly. This recipe comes from the Bernardin Complete Book of Home Preserving, which has over 400 recipes.
This Jelly is Not Just For Toast
I love the jewelled colours of little jars of jelly, all lined up neatly in the pantry. And they make great homemade gifts, too. Besides just toast, you can use this pear jelly as a glaze for meat or poultry. It also makes a great Asian style dipping sauce when mixed with some soy sauce and rice vinegar. Toss it, along with some balsamic vinegar, on winter squash before roasting. It's delicious stirred into plain yogurt or hot oatmeal, too.
Pear Jelly Recipe
- 8 lbs ripe pears
- 7 ½ cups granulated sugar
- 1 pouch 85 ml liquid pectin
- Wash pears and remove the blossom and stem ends, but do not core or peel them
- Cut pears into quarters and place in a large, deep stainless steel pot.
- Add enough cold water to cover fruit, about 1 cup for each pound of pears
- Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally, then reduce heat, cover and boil gently just until pears are softened, about 30 minutes, occasionally mashing with a potato masher
- Transfer to a dampened jelly bag set over a deep bowl, or into a sieve lined with several layers of dampened cheesecloth.
- Allow to drip at least 2 hours.
- Don't press or squeeze the fruit, as this will cloud the jelly.
- You should end up with 5 cups of pear juice.
- Combine the collected pear juice and sugar into a large, deep, stainless steel pot.
- Bring to a full rolling boil over high heat
- Stir in liquid pectin and continue to boil hard, stirring constantly, for one minute
- Skim off foam and transfer to hot sterilized jars
- Wipe jar rims and apply lids and screw bands
- Process in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes
- Remove from canner and allow to cool before ensuring jars are sealed and storing.