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Pear jam is a type of fruit preserves made from pears. Sometimes other fruits are added for additional flavor. Pear jam is often homemade, generally using the hot water bath method of home canning. Pear jam is typically high in carbohydrates, and some types may have a high sugar content, though it generally contains no fat or sodium. A serving of pear jam usually contains about 25 calories.
Homemade pear jam can be made from pears, or from the juice of pears. Most recipes call for several pounds of pears, which yield several moderately sized jars of jam. Spices, especially cinnamon, may be added to the jam. Extra sugar may be added in some recipes. The amount of added sugar often depends on the type of pears used. Particularly sweet varieties may be used to concoct a jam that needs little or no added sugar.
Food mills are typically used to prepare jam from pears. Jam is generally made from the whole fruit, and may be thicker and grainier in consistency than jelly. Jelly is often made using only the fruit juice, and usually involves straining or filtering the cooked pears to separate the fruit juice from the pear flesh. Cooked pears may be allowed to stand until the solids settle. Once settling occurs, the juice can typically be dipped off the top, leaving the solids behind.
When using a food mill to make pear jam, the whole, cooked pears can be ground into a paste. Skins may be removed or left on the pears, according to preference. Skins are said to add flavor and color to the finished product.
Pectin is typically used to solidify pear jam. If sugar is added, it is generally mixed with the pectin. The crushed pears or pear juice are usually reboiled after pectin is added. Most cooks cool a sample of the mixture to room temperature in order to see if the jam has reached the proper consistency. If the sample does not achieve the desired consistency, more pectin can be added to the mixture.
Home cooks often preserve pear jam using a process known as a hot water bath. Home canning jars are typically filled with the hot jam mixture, and sealed with appropriate lids and rings. The jars are then generally submerged in hot water and boiled for at least ten minutes. Pear jam prepared in this manner usually retains its freshness for at least six months, but may remain edible for up to one year.