Canning is generally a summer sport. Summer harvests mean you usually have to spend the hottest days of the year blanching fruit, stirring boiling pots, and having steam from a boiling water bath canner fill the kitchen with heat and humidity.
Do you ever wish that you could do your canning in the middle of the winter, when a little extra heat and humidity would be most welcome? I can’t get rid of all of that summer canning, but here is one recipe that is perfect to make on a cold, snowy day. And it will make your house smell truly heavenly.
Pears make a wonderful jam and are an easy fruit to work with any time of year. Most varieties have thin skins, so you don’t need to peel them, and you can chop them quickly in a food processor. This jam is also flavored with cinnamon and vanilla, which makes it easy and amazingly delicious!
I use a combination of sugar and stevia to make a lower sugar jam that doesn’t compromise on flavor. You could add additional sugar if you don’t want to use the stevia.
And it’s not just for toast: try stirring it into some plain yogurt or spreading on some homemade pancakes for a delicious breakfast or snack.
Lower Sugar Cinnamon Vanilla Pear Jam
8-10 ripe medium-sized pears (about 4 lb)
1 Tbs lemon juice
2 ¼ cups sugar, divided
1 box low-sugar pectin
½ tsp liquid stevia
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 vanilla beans, split and scraped; or 2 tsp vanilla extract
Prepare equipment: sterilize half-pint jars, lids, and canning equipment (ladle and funnel). Prepare a boiling water bath.
Wash and core the pears, but do not peel. Finely chop or coarsely mash to yield 7 cups fruit. (I use a food processor to finely chop/mash the pears). Stir in lemon juice.
In a small bowl, combine ¼ cup of the sugar with the box of pectin. Mix well and set aside.
In a large pot, combine the chopped pears, remaining 2 cups sugar, stevia, cinnamon and vanilla beans (both seeds and pods), if using. Bring to a full rolling boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium (maintain a low but continuous boil), and boil for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in sugar/pectin mixture and vanilla extract, if using. Return jam to a full boil and boil for an additional 5 minutes. Remove vanilla bean pods and discard.
Remove jam from heat and let sit for 3-4 minutes. Stir jam. Ladle hot jam into prepared jars. Wipe top edges of jars with a damp cloth. Add lids and rings. Place in a boiling bath canner and when pot has returned to a full boil, process jars for 10 minutes. Remove jars from canner and place on a towel on kitchen counter. Let sit for 24 hours. Check seals before placing on pantry shelf.
Yield: 6 half-pint jars
- Use thin-skinned pears like Bartlett, d’Anjou, or Comice
- Stevia brands can vary in sweetness. Taste jam before adding pectin and adjust sugar to taste.
- Use either the vanilla beans or the vanilla extract, not both
- Letting the jam sit for a few minutes before ladling into jars helps to reduce foam and keep the fruit chunks from settling to the bottom of the jars.