The weather in New York has been crazy. On Christmas eve, the high was 72°F (22°C). That was hotter than the weather in Cyprus! Because of the unusually warm fall, things have been a little strange around here. The grass outside our building is lush and green. The rose bushes a couple of blocks away are still blooming. So have the trees in the park in our neighborhood. The stores are putting all of their winter clothes on sale. Nothing has sold. Fashionistas are apparently freaking out because they can’t wear this year’s winter clothes. Christmas this year felt like an imposter. When people are walking outside in shorts and t-shirts it doesn’t give you quite that holiday spirit (unless you live in LA or Florida I guess).
It’s hard to even enjoy this nice weather, knowing that it may be a harbinger of more extreme weather, super hurricanes, plagues of locusts, alien invasions, and humanity’s annihilation! So prepare yourselves for the apocalypse by making this pear vanilla jam. The recipe is from my friend JC who has been making it for years and generously shared it with me. The jam is lovely and it will keep you well fed in your doomsday bunker.
Pear Vanilla Jam
4 lbs (1.8 kg) ripe Bartlett/Williams pears, peeled, cored and diced in small pieces
Sugar, 45% of the weight of chopped pears
Seeds scraped from 1 vanilla pod
1/4 cup lemon juice
First, peel, core, and dice the pears. Weigh the diced pears. Place them in a large, heavy pot and add 45% of the weight of the pears in sugar (so if your diced pears weighed 1 kg, add 450 g of sugar).
Add the vanilla seeds and the lemon juice. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Continue boiling for about 20 minutes.
Test the jam by placing a little on a plate that you’ve kept in the freezer. Return to the freezer for 2-3 minutes. Push the jam with your index finger. If the liquid part is wrinkling, the jam is done. If not, boil it for another 5 minutes. Don’t boil it for more than 25-30 minutes. Since the jam doesn’t have added pectin it never gets quite as gel-like as other jams but it’s solid enough to be spreadable.
The jam can be canned for long term storage (in your bunker). Alternatively, you can place it in clean jars and freeze it.