Fragrant with the fruity aroma of pears and a whiff of sage, and finished with a little honey, this is a lovely jam. The November Tigress Can Jam has come and gone, and while I made a fantastic pear and chestnut jam for the post, I wasn’t done with my recent obsession with pears. With the exception of Asian pears that seem to over-winter, our local pears varieties have a fleeting presence and therefore I wanted to put up the last of them for the pantry.
When we were in San Francisco a month ago, we picked up a bottle of sage honey. Light in color and subtle in flavor, it was a good complement to the gentle pear flavor of this jam, and finished it off nicely. If I had had no sage honey, I would have used a mild flavored honey so as not to compete with the pears. I added a little sage leaf to each jar since I thought that the sage flavor and smell would disappear after processing and storing the jam. The idea of adding honey at the end came from the recently published Blue Chair Jam Cookbook, a hefty and beautifully produced book brimming with great ideas.
Pear Jam with Sage and Sage Honey adapted from The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook
4-6 Bartlett pears (2 ¼ – 2 ¼ lbs)
Juice of 1 lemon
1 ½ c granulated sugar
3-4 sprigs of sage
1 tbsp sage honey (or 2 tsp of more strongly flavored honey)
½ tsp cider vinegar
Small sage leaves for the jars
Peel and core the pears and chop them finely into a bowl containing the lemon juice. Work quickly to avoid browning the pears. Stir in the sugar, cover the surface with plastic wrap or parchment paper and then cover the bowl. Set aside to macerate overnight.
Prepare the canning jars and place a plate in the freezer for testing the jam’s gel. Bring the pear mixture to a boil over high heat and cook until a drop tested on the frozen plate is wrinkly and slightly sticky.
Remove from the heat and add the sage sprigs to steep in the pear jam for about 5 minutes. Remove the sage, and add the honey and a few drops of cider vinegar. Heat gently and pour into prepared jars. Process in a water bath canner for 10 minutes after the water returns to a boil. Turn off the heat, remove the canner lid and let the jars sit for 5 minutes before removing to let them cool, undisturbed.
Makes five 4-oz jars.