I’ve been going a little bit crazy for pears lately. In my heart, fall has arrived, no matter what the heat and humidity seem to think. These particular red pears caught my attention while I was walking through Reading Terminal Market last Friday. I had dropping in for chard and eggs and ended up walking home laden with all that plus avocados, an enormous cabbage and two and a half pounds of these glowing pears.
It’s funny. I’m not all that adventurous when it comes to pears. I tend to stick with Bartlett or Bosc. For a few weeks each fall, I’m hopelessly in love with Asian pears. I like to pickle the tiny Seckel pears. But really, that’s about it. Until I bought this bundle, I don’t know that I’d ever brought red pears into my kitchen. That’s all changing now. I now declare myself a red pear convert.
Cored and chopped, I ended up with just over 5 cups of fruit. I didn’t peel the pears because that crimson skin was integral to their charm. Without it, how would you know that these pears were any different from my standard Bartletts?
In the past, I’ve made pear jam with ginger, with cinnamon and with vanilla. A lavender infusion seemed like the next logical step (as least, it did in my head). I’m quite thrilled with how it turned out. The flavor of the lavender nudges up beautifully against the slight spiciness of the pears. I think they are perfect partners.
If you can’t find red pears, don’t think that you have to skip this recipe. Feel free to use any smooth skinned pear you’d like (except Asian pears. They’re low in acid and need special treatment). It’s a very nice way to welcome fall.
- 5 cups chopped red pears (approximately 2 1/2 pounds)
- 2 1/2 cups granulated white sugar
- 3 teaspoons food grade lavender buds
- juice from 1/2 lemon
- Prepare 2 pint jars or 4 half pint jars and a boiling water canner. Place lids in a small pot and bring to a very low simmer.
- Combine chopped pears and sugar in a medium, non-reactive pot. Stir to combine so that the sugar starts to bring out the liquid in the pears.
- Place lavender buds in a muslin spice bag or tea ball. Place in pot with pears and sugar. Add lemon juice and stir.
- Put pot on stove and heat to high. Bring jam to a boil, stirring regularly. Continue to cook over high heat until jam thickens. Use plate test to check set.
- When jam is done (mine took 15 minutes to cook), remove pot from heat. Pour into prepared jars.
- Wipe jar rims, apply lids and rings and process in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes.
- When time is up, remove jars from canner and let them cool. Once jars are cool enough to handle, remove rings and test seals. Sealed jars can be stored in a cool, dark place for up to one year. Unsealed jars should be refrigerated and used relatively quickly.