Pear Jelly

Pear Jelly

Again this year, we had a bumper crop of pears. I made three large batches of pear picante sauce. We ate some. Gave a lot away and still had some left over. I don't remember the variety, but these are late pears. We usually have to pick them before they are ripe in order to keep them from early frost. This variety has rather thick skins, and while the flesh is firm and sweet, the skins aren't really, so even eaten fresh they are better peeled. However, you can only eat so many pears...

The Sure-jell box does not give any directions for pear jelly, only jam. I have a regular old-fashioned deep double kitchen sink and one side was HEAPED with washed pears. I *really* didn't want to peel and fine chop any more pears. I did two 5-gallon buckets full for the salsa. So, I read the directions for apple jelly and decided to try a batch. Only I decided to juice ALL the pears at one time, then measure and make the jelly later. Last year, I also had printed from a website a recipe for Pear Vanilla Jam that used real vanilla beans and sounded yummy, but it made a TINY batch and I never bothered to try it.

So, I processed all the pears (stem and blossom end removed, then cut into rough chunks) and in order to boost the pectin, I added 6 pie apples (Haralson?) and the juice of 5 lemons - or so I thought. Two of them were limes that had gone pale as they ripened. Once they were cut in half it was too late, so I added them too. Oh, almost forgot - last year I canned a lot of pear juice and pear/apple juice and no one would drink it. I made it in a steam juicer, so it's not concentrated enough to make jelly on it's own, but I opened the jars and added it to the fruit while cooking instead of the water that was called for on the instruction sheet. When it was all strained and pressed, and reduced a little I ended up with 2.5 gallons of juice!

When I measured out the juice and started heating it for jelly, I added a split and scraped out vanilla bean and the pod which I fished out just before adding the sugar. The jelly is incredible! YUM. I made two batches on Wed. and I ran out of sugar. Hopefully I'll have enough jars to finish up today. It's a lovely clear gold color, even though the bulk juice looks opaque pinky brown in the pot. :-D

BTW - if anyone needs vanilla beans, a friend bought a lot of them on ebay for less than $1 each. I was able to buy a few from her. They are about $5 each in the grocery store.



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