In my garden in Italy, I have got two pear trees which every summer give us delicious, juicy fruits. The pears are so perfectly sweet that every year I use them for an incredibly simple jam recipe that is basically pears, sugar and lemon, for a citrusy yet delicate touch.
1 kg of sweet, firm pears, peeled, cored and chopped
400 g of granulated sugar
1 unwaxed lemon (strained juice and zest)
Place the empty jars in a large pot linen with a clean tea towel and completely cover them with water. Put another tea towel between the jars so they don’t knock against each other if necessary.
Bring to a boil over high heat and let them simmer for about 10 minutes. Turn off the heat. Do not boil the lids as this can damage their plastic bottoms. Instead, just heat them in hot water. When the water is cold enough, take out the jars and the lids and let them drain on a clean surface.
Place a saucer in the freezer.
In a large, heavy-bottomed pan, combine the chopped pears, the sugar, the lemon juice and its zest. Bring all the ingredient to the boil over medium heat, stirring well to dissolve the sugar.
Lower the heat slightly and simmer the jam, uncovered, stirring occasionally until the setting point is reached, for about 40 minutes.
To check the setting point, when the jam starts to look thicker, test the consistency by taking the saucer out of the freezer and dropping a small quantity of jam on it. If it doesn’t run off the plate, it’s ready.
Remove the pear jam from the heat, skim off the foam with a clean spoon and leave to stand for 15 minutes.
Ladle the jam into the sterilized jars, leaving 1/2 cm headspace. Wipe the rims with a clean wet towel to remove any residue and seal.
When the jars are cold, place them in a large pot full of water and sterilise them using the same technique described above, letting them simmer for 20 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the jars cool completely in the pan, then remove them from water.
Press the top of each lid with a finger, ensuring that the seal is tight. If the lid springs back, it is not sealed properly and refrigeration is necessary. Store them in a cool, dark place.
Do not add cold jam to hot jars, or hot jam to cold jars otherwise they will shatter. This jam is perfect with a spread on a crunchy baguette or served with a cheese platter.