It's the last Sunday of summer and we are expecting the temperature to get to the upper-90's today. The arrival of fresh pears and apples at the Farmers Market reminds me that fall will be here eventually. In the meantime I was thankful for the air conditioning as I worked over the hot stove making this jam!
I've always loved pears. One of my favorite childhood treats was a pear cobbler Grandma would make me. This jam is very reminiscent of that cobbler and the addition of the vanilla beans is just amazing. The jam is wonderful with hot biscuits or sour cream muffins and would be a wonderful topping to pancakes or ebelskivers.
Pear Vanilla Jam
8 cups chopped pears (no need to peel them)
2 vanilla beans, split and seeded
4 cups sugar
1 packet liquid pectin
Wash jars, lids and screw bands in hot soapy water; rinse well. Pour boiling water over flat lids in saucepan. Let stand in hot water until ready to use. Keep jars hot (I keep them in a pot of boiling water).
Chop enough pears to measure 8 cups. Place the pears, vanilla bean seeds, pods, and sugar in a 8-quart pot, and cook over medium heat until the pears are soft. Mash half of the pears with a potato masher (can be done in the pot). Remove the vanilla pods and bring to a boil. Add liquid pectin, stir, and bring to a rolling boil. Boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
Ladle immediately into clean and hot jars, filling to within 1/4 inch of tops. Wipe jar rims and threads with warm wet cloth or paper towel. Cover with hot lids and screw bands on. Process according to USDA water bath standards or, do as Grandma did, and turn the jars upside down for 5 minutes. Turn jars over. Lids will "pop" so you know they are sealed.
I buy vanilla beans in bulk here. I store them in a mason jar and they last a long time. Besides being used in baking, I also use vanilla beans to make homemade vanilla extract and always have a container of vanilla sugar on my countertop.