Those who make pear jelly consider this process a time-honored and treasured tradition. The flavor of the pear is so delicate that it demands a softer approach when making jelly. But the end product is worth the added toil. In order to achieve the delicateness of both flavor and texture, try making this gem without commercial pectin, which can often lead to a solid chunk of jelly, rather than a soft and easily spread jelly. It will not only melt in your mouth, but shimmer delightfully in the jar.
To ensure a softer set, simply add one apple to the mix-core and all-and allow the apple to process along with the pears. When you strain the fruit, the core, seeds and peel will be removed. If you find the apple gives the pear jelly too much of a set, adjust your recipe to omit the apple.
Conduct the gel test to check for doneness by placing several small plates into the freezer before you begin processing the pear jelly. At various intervals, place a spoon of jelly on a frozen plate. If the jelly remains runny, it's not done yet. But, if the jelly forms a skin and then wrinkles when you slide your finger into it, it's ready for processing.
Soft Pear Jelly Recipe
Ingredients You Will Need:
7 pounds fresh pears (about 6 cups of juice)
1 apple (including the core)
6 cups sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Remove the stems and chop the pears and apple, adding the cores and peelings to the mixture. Add ½ cup water to the fruit, if needed, and cook until soft enough to mash. Simmer the fruit for 15 to 20 minutes to release as much of the juice as possible.
Pour the mashed fruit and juice into a jelly bag or colander with two thicknesses of cheesecloth. Let the fruit drip for up to 24 hours. Remove the juice, being careful not to add any pulp. Return the pulp to a saucepan. Add the sugar and lemon juice and heat the mixture until it begins to thicken (Check for doneness often). Stop processing when you have reached the desired thickness.
Pour the jelly into sterilized jars, leaving ¼ inch headspace. Wipe the rims with a clean, wet cloth and adjust the lids and rings. Process the jars in a hot water bath for five minutes. Do not begin timing the hot water bath until the water has reached a rolling boil. Make sure the jars are submerged to a depth of at least one to two inches. Remove the jars using canning tongs and place them on a folded towel, several inches apart, to cool. Leave the jars undisturbed for 24 hours.
Pear jelly that does not seal should be kept refrigerated and used within a few weeks. Pear jelly can also be frozen in jars or in plastic containers.
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