Now that autumn is well underway, the produce sections have started to fill with heartier fruits and veggies—squashes, root vegetables, apples, and pears. I have a weakness for all things pear, and rightfully so. This slightly sweet, somewhat spicy fruit has endless pairings, from humble peanut butter and jam toast, to fancy cheese boards and pastries.
In short, pears are one of the most versatile things to put up and they make fantastic preserves to gift throughout the holiday season. They provide a delicately sweet base to to pair with any flavor profile–spicy, floral, tart. Below are some of my favorite ways to use this cold-weather fruit in fall canning.
Sauces and Butters
Pour this Pear Vanilla Drizzle on toast or pancakes for you want something glaze-like that retains the signature graininess of whole pears. A similar but smoother choice is this Pear Vanilla Caramel Sauce to adorn ice cream or fill a cookie when the sweet tooth strikes. It even makes a nice surprise on a holiday cheese board!
For a brighter option, lather this Pear Drizzle with Lemon and Ginger onto a breakfast pastry or into tangy yogurt.
While fruit butters are a more time-consuming art (try splitting the process into a two-day affair), this creamy Pear Butter has a no-fuss flavor. When you don’t want to mask the flavor of pear with anything else, this is the spread for you.
Pear jam is something I never tire of. My Spiced Pear Jam is essential if you or anyone you love wishes pumpkin spice season lasted all year long. For a more tame spice, this Pear Cinnamon Jam will hit the spot. Meanwhile, my Seckel Pear Jam with Brown Sugar and Cardamom is my favorite to spread into oatmeal on a chilly morning.
Pear Cranberry Jam is a delightful twist on the traditional thanksgiving classic, working in a delicate sweetness to compliment the pucker of cranberry (this low-sugar alternative is equally satisfying). If you are feeling extra non-traditional, pair it with goat cheese and pecans for a solo cheese board venture. If you’d like to try another pear/fruit combo, take a peak at this Honey Sweetened Plum-Pear Jam.
If you couldn’t tell by now, pear and vanilla make one of my favorite teams. This Pear Vanilla Jam uses whole vanilla beans, which can get a bit pricey, but creates a depth of flavor that is unquestionably worthwhile. For another less-than-casual jam, this Pear and Chocolate Jam is an elegant filling or glaze for pastries and croissants; while not daily spread-on-toast jam (though maybe it will be in your kitchen!), this decadent jam is worth trying.
On a lighter note, this Red Pear Lavender Jam is a beautifully rosy and light alternative to richer and more heavily spiced recipes. The natural spiciness of the pear shines when contrasted with floral flavors to create gentle jam.
Chutneys are hearty and deeply spiced, so they are perfect for the transitory period of fall. This Bartlett Pear Chutney with Dried Cherries and Ginger is wonderfully autumnal and aromatic, due to a pinch of cardamom and a bit of brandy, while still providing pucker from the ginger, vinegar, and mustard seeds.
Another savory/sweet option is this Persimmon and Pear Chutney perfectly balanced with red onion, raisins, brown sugar, ginger, and allspice. For an added layer of warmth, use a pinch of cayenne.
Whole Pears and Pickles
For a simple yet seasonal treat, these Honey Cinnamon Pears, made with apple juice and a cinnamon stick, will be the ideal topper to oatmeal, cottage cheese, yogurt, chia pudding, or pancakes.
Want to take a more briny route? These Pickled Seckel Pears are sweet, with a slight spice and bit of crunch. For a brighter pickle, Karen Solomon’s Pickled Asian Pears are use lemon zest and ginger to add flavor.
Other than the Seckel Pears, which are small enough to leave whole, you can get away with halving or quartering the pears in these recipes!
In the Kitchen
If you are looking for ways to use up all the pear you’ve put up, I suggest you spread any of the aforementioned jams onto this Pear Gingerbread for a cozy, carby treat. For a more charming baked good, this lightly spiced Pear Cake will be the winner.
For a cooler take, this Honey Cinnamon Pear Sorbet is made from the whole honey cinnamon pears. It’s bright, spicy, and sweet, while still remaining light, making it the perfect after dinner treat in any season.
For more ways to use up your preserves, don’t forget to check out my newest book, The Food in Jars Kitchen, as well as any of my other cookbooks if you’re in need of more pear in your life (as I always am)!