Pears are smokin'

My hot fireman's pear jam experiment turned out a smokin' little jam. Pears are my favorite autumn fruit. Sweet, sultry, salutary and versatile, pears are perfect raw, baked, jammed and mixed with a multitude of flavors. When I got some pears from a fireman upstate I wanted to mix them with something that fit the context, so I added cinnamon and chipotle to give it a little spice and smoky heat. The fireman only had a bushel of Bartlett pears from his backyard, so I had to get some more from an orchard upstate with the lovely name of Breezy Hill. I bought them in the pouring rain, from some cold farmers at the farmer's market in Park Slope. They're beautiful and delicious, perfect with smokey spice.

Next we'll be mixing pears with St. Germain Liquor and some cranberries for the holiday season. Stay tuned!

Hot Fireman's Pear Jam

  • 10 cups peeled, cored, and diced pears
  • 1 cup water
  • 5 cups sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp chipotle
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp apple jelly (see recipe, added to give extra jamminess)

Sterilize jars and lids in boiling water for at least 10 minutes. In a large saucepan, combine pears, water, and lemon juice. Cover, and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the sugar. Bring back to a boil and skim as needed. Cook pears until tender and slightly transluscent (another 20-30minutes).

Puree half of the pears in a food mill (we have a lovely old food mill that works wonders with apples but a blender or food processor will also do the trick!). The puree should be similar to a thin applesauce.

Return to your pot, mix with diced pears and bring to boil. Add the apple jelly and cinnamon. Boil another 15-20 minutes. Check the temperature with a candy thermometer, you want it to be 220F. Keep stirring, you don’t want your pears to scorch!

Add the chipotle, bring to a boil again (few moments) and remove from heat and allow to settle for two minutes.

Finish by filling your desired jars to within a ¼ inch of the top and seal (for jar preparation, see this detailed recipe). Boil for 10 minutes in a water bath. Let rest 5 minutes in bath, then remove. Listen for the jars to “pop” letting you know the jam is sealed! Do not move for 6 to 12 hours to get a proper set.

    UncategorizedLaena McCarthy