Pear Vanilla Jam

Sept 23 2012

I noted in my last blog about the sublime pear vanilla jam I had purchased at the market from cottagecountrynorth.ca. I have resolved to try and copy it, and to keep a running commentary of my efforts in this regard.

I will do this by noting my current actions, thoughts, and photos as they occur and separating them with a solid line

My first thought is that this jam starts off as being a regular pear jam  – not that I’ve made pear jam before – the thought has not occurred to me. But since I believe it to be a regular pear jam, I will use Pomona’s pectin and recipe. The only thing troubling here is that Pomona’s uses honey and this uses sugar. Once the jam is in the pot, I’m thinking of taking 100g and adding in the vanilla, recording how much. This will give me a quantity per 100g for the whole amount.

I will do this now. Fresh pear season won’t last – especially as we had such a terrible year for fruit crops in Ontario this year. So…. first step: get pears.

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Sept 25 2012

I did as I said: I got pears, but it seemed that they were a little under ripe – and I had a sufficient quantity of Anjou pears that were perfectly ripe for this purpose. I ground them up roughly – a kilo/litre worth. 8-9 125 ml jars would be good even if I messed it up. 

I likewise prepared the basic jam according to Pomona‘s recipe instructions.

Next – I took a  100g sample and added what needed to be added. This was difficult. I realized the original jam was intensely sweet – it occurred to me that this original jam likely had a 1:1 fruit:sugar ratio as is typical with jams, and I had used a scant 1/2 cup of honey for this recipe. I kept adding 1/4 tsp of brown sugar to bring it up. I know I was quite off in this. I realize I ought to be trying that 1:1 sugar:fruit and perhaps in this case using normal pectin as is more usual.

As for the vanilla, 1/4 tsp per 100g seemed to be right, as did half a pod of vanilla bean. It was difficult to sort this out as I was working from jam before I had boiled and set it. I also had no idea as to the extent flavors would blend with time.

I  think that I need to add a little more lemon  – but at the very end of the process – just before it goes into the jars. There is a little tang in her jam I feel is missing.

In the end, my product is similar  – but also quite different. I’d like to do it again – this time using a more typical jam making procedure at the start. I think my vanilla is OK – 5 pods per litre of fruit, 2.5 tsp of vanilla extract. I think I should give the jam a chance to settle for a couple of days to see how it all blends. Laura’s jam has a really fine silky quality to it that I find lacking in mine.

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Next  – family & friends: M says its different, but good none the less.

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