The red pears are ready during the first part of September. These early organic pears are delicious, fragrant and sweet, but they don’t hold long. They must be picked when they are still a little crunchy and ripened under close monitoring. In a couple days they can go from perfect ripeness to all brown on the inside. The ones that survive my appetite for fresh pears are turned into jelly.
My pear jelly recipe was developed through trial and error and adapted from the apple jelly Sure-Jell recipe. Pears have a similar pectin content to apples, but they contain more juice and are sweeter. To make perfect pear jelly, select ripe fruit that is still slightly firm, not gone too mushy. The skin and cores contain pectin, so they are retained. The low sugar version of Sure-Jell reduces calories and allows more of the fresh fruit flavor to come out in the finished jelly.
4 lbs pears to make 4 cups pear juice
1 cup water
3.5 cups sugar
1 package low-sugar Sure-Jell
Wash pears well, remove stem and blossom end. Cut the fruit, with the skins and cores, into approx. 1″ cubes. Place in a large saucepan with the water. Simmer, covered for 20-30 minutes, until soft. Mash the fruit, place in a jelly bag or within several layers of cheesecloth and drain off all the juice. I like to put the juice in a covered pitcher in the fridge overnight so any pulp that makes it through the cloth will settle to the bottom. Then I pour off the clear juice, leaving the sediment. You should have 4 cups of juice. Add up to 1/4 cup water if you are a little short.
Place the juice in a large stock pot that is at least four times the volume of juice to allow for expansion during cooking. Mix the Sure-Jell with 1/2 cup sugar then add to the juice. Cook on high, stirring, until the mixture boils. Add the rest of the sugar all at once. Continue to stir and return the mixture to a full rolling boil that can not be stirred down. Boil for one minute. Remove from heat. Skim off any foam. Immediately pack in hot containers. Process in a hot water bath for 5 minutes. Cool out of drafts. Check for a seal before storing. Makes about 6.5 cups of jelly. Yum!