Homemade Spiced Pear Jam (Without Pectin)


 

Stone fruits are my first love and I have them in abundance during the season but the pip fruits, pears, apples are a different story all together. There are many varieties of pears that have hit the market this season including the sweet nashpaati, crisp nakq and gritty, sweet and juicy babugosha. i’m absolutely enjoying myself biting into the fresh ripe fleshy fruits but sometimes a few of them turn out a little bland in taste and that is when the exotic ideas of caramelized pears, stews, poached pears in red wine, jams, jellies, tarts, upside down cakes or a humble Indian spiced chutney come to mind. Do check out my other recipes for jams and jellies.

Pears are rich in dietary fibers among other things. The star of this recipe are the intense flavors of spices and the tang from lemon. As the pears were not very sweet this one has a mild sweetness of the fruit but those with robust flavors are mind blowing when used in preserves. I usually pick up the juiciest and sweetest lot.

The cinnamon and clove give it a classic flavor and the sugar gives it the desired thickness. I guess this is the time to bring Autumn into your kitchen. 🙂

Pear an Peach jams do not set like other jams if there is no additional pectin. They require a little bit more cooking time to get the right consistency.

Ingredients : 

2 Cups – Chopped, peeled Pears

4 Cups – Sugar ( depends on the sweetness of the fruit)

4-5 – Cloves / 1/2 tsp of  freshly ground clove powder

1/4 inch Cinnamon stick  / 1/2 tsp Freshly ground Cinnamon

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

Steps: 

Add all the ingredients in a heavy bottom saucepan and boil them on low heat for an hour or so or until thick. As the mixture begins to thicken you will need to stir more frequently. Once the bubbles begin to appear stop stirring and let the foam come up. Turn the gas off and skim off any foam that may have come on the top. Put it back on stove on low heat.

Once the jam thickens to the desired consistency and the mixture looks glossy and shiny turn off the gas.  If the jam coats the back of the spoon and the bottom of the pan it is done. The color will darken too. Conduct a spoon or sheet test – take some jam in a frozen spoon or chilled  steel plate and slightly tilt it , if the jam stays at one place it is done. If it flows then you need to cook a bit more. Always cook jams on low heat.

You may keep the jam a bit chunky or mash the fruit with a masher while it is cooking to get a smoother jam.

You can add a 1″ piece of grated ginger if you like the taste. I do it sometime. It perks up the taste of the jam.

Let the jam come to room temperature then spoon it in clean glass jars. Leave 1/4 inch head space while filling the bottles.

Slather this golden sweetness lavishly on the bread and enjoy wit ha hot mug of coffee.

Tip – Add a little red wine to the jam if you don’t mind things getting a little tipsy.   🙂

Recipe – Indian Gooseberry | Amla Jam


 

Indain Gooseberry | Amla Jam

Indian Gooseberry | Amla Jam

I found good quality Alma in the local market and bought a large amount to pickle, preserve and use it in other dishes including chutney. Indian gooseberry jam has just the right sweet and sour taste that I enjoy. I added three very sweet Indian red delicious kinnaur apples to the jam to reduce the amount of  added sugar. All of my jams and jellies have natural fruit pectin. I avoid the commercial one. I do not use preservative either.

This is a simple recipe that stays well for a long time. I don’t add apples to this jam usually but instead of making apple jam this time I thought of combining the two with a hint of cinnamon, some fresh ginger & zest of lemon. Oh boy ! the result was simply superb. It tastes awesome with toasts, muffins etc.

 

Here is an easy step by step recipe for the Indian Gooseberry Jam

Ingredients :

Indian Gooseberry (Amla) – 1/2 kg

Apples – 3 medium (optional)

Sugar – 400 gm ( depends on how sour the amla is so adjust accordingly)

Grated ginger – 1/2 teaspoon

Juice & Zest  of one small lemon

Cinnamon powder – 2-3 pinches

Clove – 3-4

Water – to cook

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Method:

Wash and steam the Indian gooseberry or amla till they become soft. You can boil them or pressure cook. I kept a vegetable steamer in the cooker and give 2 whistles.

Remove the fruit in a plate and allow to cool.

Separate the fruit into wedges and throw away the pits.

Wash, peel, core and chop the apples (if using).

In a heavy bottom pan add the fruits, lemon zest, grated ginger and the spices along with water. The fruit needs to be totally immersed in water. (Approx half a liter)

Cook it on medium low heat and stir frequently till the fruits break down and resembles nice chunky amla/apple sauce.

You can pass it through a sieve at this point or leave it a little chunky as i did. Just mash it properly with a vegetable masher. You can remove the cloves while mashing. I often use clove powder so that the spice is not wasted.

Stir in the sugar. The mixture will become a little watery at this point. Don’t worry and keep stirring  till it comes to boiling point. Keep the heat medium.

(Be careful  as the mixture boils and bubbles. Depending on the size of your pot/pan it may splash.)

Squeeze the lime juice now and stir. Keep the heat low.

Remove all the froth that floats to the top.

Cook for some more time.

Do a plate test at this stage. ( Chill a plate beforehand. Drop some jam in the center of  the plate and prod gently, if the jam wrinkles on prodding it’s done. If it flows or is saucy then cook a little more. Test again till you get the right texture.

Turn off the heat and let it come to room temperature.

Keep the sterilized jars ready for canning. I simply wash the jars with hot water and dry them completely before using.

Spoon the jam in the jars and close the lids tightly. Stirlization of jars is essential if you are storing jams/jellies for a longer period.

I make small batches so avoid the process.

Always use clean dry spoon for serving.

Enjoy the Indian Gooseberry jam with hot crisp toasts, rotis (flat breads), crackers, any of the swiss or french breads.

 

*Adding apple is optional. The jam will need a bit more sweetness. You can add honey or more sugar. I want to make it with unrefined sugar too. I think it should work fine. Give it a try and let me know the result.

Sweetness remnds me of jam filled cup cakes I had somewhere. Have you tried making them at home?