Thursday, 25 August 2011

Pear Tree Pectin

Hello all! We've been gone a while. Nick lost his day job, our computer had some finicky moments, and the phone we were using for a camera also broke. In light of this string of bad luck, we've been alternately vacationing and scrambling. Rest assured the blog is coming back in full swing very soon. In the meantime, here's the recipe for the pear pectin we made a few weeks ago:



Most of the recipes we've found for pectin are done with apples, but pears have a higher pectin content than apples, and we happen to have pear trees behind the house that are just about ripe.

Under ripe fruit is higher in pectin than perfectly ripe (or over ripe fruit) so it's the perfect use for the early fruit that falls due to windstorms, etc. Since this fruit is usually not as nice as the fruit that stays firmly attached to the tree, some paring is necessary, but it's worth it. For this recipe we used the good parts of about 20 small, under ripe pears.



* Trim any bruises, rotten spots and wormholes and discard them. Wash the fruit thoroughly.

* Coarsely chop the remaining fruit. Include the stems, skin, and cores/seeds as these are high in pectin. Put in a good sized pot



* Cut a lemon into eighths and squeeze the juice over the pears. Toss in the peels and seeds as well, these, too, are high in pectin.

* Add water until the fruit is almost covered, put on the heat and heat to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about an hour.



* Pour through cheesecloth (or a rag made from a clean cotton t-shirt) to strain out the fruit. We poured this into a juice jug, to make it easier to jar. Squeeze all the water through the cloth. Discard the fruit bits (we fed ours to the chickens)

* To test the pectin, add a few drops to a little rubbing alcohol. If it "gels" it's good.

* Use for jams and jellies in equal parts with fruit and sugar.