Because making pure fig jam can be an expensive proposition, David Hagedorn incorporated pears into these preserves. He's happy with the results.
Yield: Makes 10 half-pints
- 10 cups Bartlett pears, peeled, cored and cut into 1-inch chunks
- 10 ounces dried figs, cut in half
- 10 1/2-inch-thick slices of lemon, seeded
- 3 vanilla beans, halved lengthwise and cut in half to form 12 pieces total
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/2 cup honey
- 3 cups sugar
- 2 cups water
- Few drops of red food coloring (optional)
To prepare for canning: Wash 10 half-pint jars, their new lids and bands in hot, soapy water (180 degrees); rinse well. Dry the bands; set aside. Sterilize the jars by boiling for 10 minutes. Heat the lids and bands in a saucepan of hot water, keeping them hot until ready to use. Do not boil the lids.
Fill the canner halfway with water. Preheat the water (140 degrees for raw-packed foods, 180 degrees for hot-packed foods) over medium heat.
In a large, nonreactive pot over medium-high heat, combine the pears, figs, lemon slices, vanilla beans, cinnamon stick, cardamom, honey, sugar, water and food coloring, if desired. Cook for about 1 hour, uncovered, stirring often, or until all the liquid is absorbed; the pears should be soft but still hold their shape.
Fill each sterilized, still hot, half-pint jar with the fruit, some lemon slices and vanilla bean pieces, leaving 1/2 inch of head space. Discard the cinnamon stick. Use a nonreactive spatula or chopstick to remove any air bubbles. Wipe the rims and necks of the jars with a clean, damp cloth. Center a heated lid on each jar. Screw the bands on evenly and loosely until a point of resistance is met (fingertip tight). Load the filled jars, fitted with lids, into the canner rack and use the handles to lower the rack into the water; or fill the canner, 1 jar at a time, with a jar lifter. Increase the heat to high until the water boils vigorously. Cover with the canner lid. Set a timer for 10 minutes. Add hot water as needed to keep the water level at least 1 inch above the jars. Adjust the heat as needed to maintain a gentle boil.
When the processing is complete, transfer the jars from the canner to sit upright on a clean dish towel to cool; do not retighten the bands. Let the jars cool on the towel for 12 to 24 hours.
When the jars are cool, test for a good seal by pressing the center of each lid. If the lid does not flex up and down, it is sealed. Label and store the jars in a cool, dark place. Refrigerate after opening.
From David Hagedorn.
Tested by David Hagedorn.
Email questions to the Food Section at email@example.com.