Pears ‘n ginger

Access to a well-endowed pear tree does require a certain creativity, and while last week’s five-spice pear chutney is getting a medium-high rating after a far-too-early taste test, it seemed sensible to ring the changes a little rather than making the same untried recipe twice.

But the recipes for pear-ginger jam, my want-to-do recipe for this weekend, were just all over the map. There was a preserve that called for seven cups of pear and one of sugar (how is that one going to set?), and there was one calling for four cups of pears and seven of sugar, which seemed like a recipe for sugar overload to me — the pears are ripe and they are already very sweet.

So I decided to improvise.

First ingredient was a bowl of somewhat small crabapples we gleaned from a Toronto roadside tree a week or so ago. They were not really red enough (or big enough) to make crabapple jelly, but I figured I could boil them with water and use that liquid to add a little kick and a crabapple pectin set. The rest of the recipe were based on the Bernadin cook book, but the changes were beyond a tweak.

Pear ginger jam sauce
1 cup crabapple liquid (which was what remained after simmering those babies with water for 40 minutes or so and then letting them drip in a jelly bag for a couple of hours.)
5 cups pears, peeled and finely chopped
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup of finely chopped ginger root
4 cups sugar (I think it was a little less than that in the end)

Cook pears with crabapple liquid and lemon juice for 10 minutes until they are pretty soft. Add sugar and bring to rolling boil until it sets. That took about another 10 minutes. Bottle in clean, sterilized jars. Seal and water bath for 10 minutes.

The result. Four jars of a golden jam sauce with chunks of paler pear. It’s sweet, with a strong pear taste and a definite ginger kick.

Did I ever say how much I like ginger?

But it’s also several notches notch too runny, almost a syrup rather than a jam. Maybe I didn’t boil the crabapples long enough, or let them drip all the pectin out of the pulp before I got bored and started cooking the jam. Or maybe the set I thought I got when I drizzled some onto a cool saucer wasn’t really a set at all.

Let’s call this a pear, ginger sauce, all ready for pancakes or ice cream.

Ratings:
Pear ginger jam sauce: 3 (out of 5). It gets five out of five for taste, loses two for being a sauce rather than a jam.

Pear five-spice chutney: 3-1/2 (out of five). Points for taste, color and texture, but this one is a couple of notches too sweet.

Anyone want a jar of pear ginger syrup/sauce?

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