Caramel Cardamom Pear Jam

by Amanda Paa on August 31, 2014

Caramel Cardamom Pear Jam | heartbeet kitchen Although the song “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” was made for the holidays, I find the lyrics playing in my head as I stroll down the aisles of the farmers market these days. Tomatoes of all colors, crisp cucumbers, zucchini of every size, bags full of sweet corn piled high, winter squash, pears and apples just starting to arrive. It’s the true essence of a beautiful summer meets fall collision.

I also enjoy listening to the chatter on Twitter and in the office, people bouncing ideas off one other for what to do with this or that from their over abundant gardens. Fortunately, one of these conversations worked out quite nicely for me, as I was gifted 4 pounds of these gorgeous little Seckel pears from a co-worker of Brian’s whose tree is plumb full this year. We ate several of them straight from the bag and sliced onto socca with blue cheese, honey and walnuts.

Caramel Cardamom Pear Jams | a canning recipe
Seckel pears are the sweetest and the smallest of the pear family and look like a blushing bosc, which you’ll commonly find in grocery stores. They have a delicious spice flavor to them and a fresh crispness even when ripe. Those qualities make them perfect for simmering and preserving into this Caramel Cardamom Pear Jam. Swoon……

Caramel Cardamom Pear Jam | heartbeet kitchen
This recipe is a slight adaptation from the master preserving wizard herself, Marisa of Food in Jars, who made this brown sugar based pear jam. With the addition of flaky sea salt and double the simmering time, this version resembles caramel decadence in jam form. The brown sugar boils down into a sticky, sweet mess, and the addition of cardamom is what autumn comfort is all about.

Caramel Cardamom Pear Jam | a canning recipe Cardamom is one of my favorite warming spices, such a lovely match to the slight spice of the seckel pears. I ground the seeds of the green pods with a mortar and pestle, it’s scent so unique – a hint of eucalyptus and citrus and cloves. Used this way the spice is quite potent, which is why you’ll see two measurements – one for if you grind it yourself, the other if you buy it pre-ground, where exposure to air tames it down a bit.

Caramel Cardamom Pear Jam |small batch canning | heartbeet kitchen
Getting this jam to set couldn’t be easier. It naturally happens as the fruit simmers for an hour and the juice of a lemon at the end gives it the acidity it needs for canning safety, no artificial pectin needed. I peeled half of the pears, but left the others with the skin on because I like a little bit of texture. (If you like something completely smooth, this Vanilla Chai Pear Butter is delicious too.) The end result is lush, fudgy preserves that are just sweet enough with the addition of salt for that homemade caramel taste.

Caramel Cardamom Pear Jam | heartbeet kitchen It’s ideal match is toast, but let me tell you, it’s amazing on ice cream or stirred into steel cut oats. Or if you’re like me, just plain licked from the spoon as you’re cooking it. Enjoy this jam and the beginning of September my friends. xo

Caramel Cardamom Pear Jam

Makes 3 half-pint jars
barely adapted from Food in Jar’s recipe

3 ¼ pounds of pears, half of them peeled (I used Seckel, but I think any variety would work)
1 1/4 cups lightly packed brown sugar (not firmly packed)
scant 1/2 teaspoon salt
juice of one large lemon
¾ teaspoon ground cardamom or 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground cardamom if you grind it yourself in a mortar and pestle or spice mill (it’s more intense this way so less is needed)

Caramel Cardamom Pear Jams | a canning recipe 1. Sterilize jars in boiling water canner, lids too if you are using those made prior to 2013. See new rules about canning regulations regarding lids here.

2. Coarsely chop the pears, then combine them with the sugar in a large pot and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Simmer, stirring frequently and lightly mash with a potato masher the pears soften, until the mixture thickens and is syrupy. This will take about 45 minutes, and you will see larger bubbles forming in the simmer. Stir in the salt, lemon juice and cardamom, then simmer for 2 more minutes.

3. Ladle the hot preserves into hot jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Remove any air bubbles. Wipe the rims. Center the lids on the jars. Apply bands until the fit is just tight.

4. Process the jars in a boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes, adjusting for altitude. Turn off the heat and let the jars sit for 5 minutes then remove the jars and let cool in a draft-free spot overnight. Check the lids for seal after 24 hours – they should not flex up and down when the center is pressed. Store in a cool, dark place for up to one year.

Alternatively, if you don’t want to mess with the canning, you can skip the whole jar sterilizing and boiling water bath process and just store in clean, air-tight jars in the refrigerator for up to a month.

Caramel Cardamom Pear Jam | heartbeet kitchen

Ground Cherry Jam

by Amanda Paa on October 4, 2011

A few weeks ago I was so excited when Joyce of Friends Drift Inn asked me to write a guest post for her, but that excitement doubled when she said the focus would be on preserving ground cherries. They are one of my favorites that I regularly pick up from the Minneapolis Farmers Market and what I think of as one of the most unique fruits! Head on over to Friends Drift Inn to read the rest of my for my post and get the recipe for Ground Cherry Jam infused with Green Tea! Here’s a little introduction about Joyce, who I am honored to be guest posting for.

About Joyce:

Pinson is a food columnist for the Appalachian-News Express. Her column and blog, Friends Drift Inn, explores food, gardening, and real life farm-to-table stories from the perspective of a baby boomer. Joyce has a background in agriculture, media, and small business. Joyce is an heirloom gardening addict and home canner. She has a penchant for big hats, pointy toed shoes, and bourbon. Along with her husband Charlie, Joyce really does live in a barn where they ballroom dance. And laugh. And cook.


Strawberry Peach Ginger Jam

by Amanda Paa on July 2, 2011

After buying my first quart last weekend at the Mill City Farmer’s Market, I was reminded that there is nothing better than locally grown strawberries! The taste is distinctly sweeter and juicier; the fragrance much stronger, than anything you can buy in the store. It brought me back to my childhood days, picking tiny berries at my great grandmother’s farm, eating the majority in my basket before I even got back to the house. A close friend of mine put a link on Facebook early this week of a local farm about 20 miles away had a pick your own patch of organically grown strawberries that was to open June 23rd! It is so hard to find pick your own patches anymore, let alone organic ones! Immediately I let her know I was in for tagging along. My brain danced with the different kinds of tarts, jams, scones, and salads I could make them the star of.

When we arrived at the “gold mine” we were greeted by the owner himself (meanwhile his wife was working in their tiny market), and he gave us an introduction to their place. I love supporting local places as such where two people work so hard to bring communities wonderful food in an organic manner. I could see the pride in both of their eyes talking about the growing seasons, their nursery, produce, and chickens they raise. After about two hours of picking, we had both filled a flat with the red beauties!

Strawberries only hold their freshness for a few days so it is important to either eat them right away or preserve them. This week I made several goodies from the berry goodness.  I plan to share them with you over the next few days so enjoy! First up – Strawberry Peach Ginger Jam made with Pomona’s Pectin. I really like using this product because it allows you to use less sugar (or sweetener of your choice, i used honey) than with regular pectin and is preservative free. It is activated by calcium so along with the powder pectin, the box contains the calcium powder that you will mix with water (it gives directions for amounts). I would caution that if you are looking for a really firm jam, this may not be the product for you but I really enjoy the consistency it gives. I am loving this jam! It went great on some gluten free bread I made and on oatmeal. The ginger really brings out the flavor of the strawberries, and the peaches is just the right compliment.

Strawberry Peach Ginger Jam


3 cups of mashed strawberries
2 cups of mashed peaches
juice of 2 lemons plus zest
3/4 cup room temp. organic honey (you could also use sugar)
2 T of grated fresh ginger
2 1/2 t pomona’s pectin
2 1/2 t calcium water


Sterilize your jars as you are preparing your fruit, letting them sit in the hot water until you are ready to begin canning. To prepare the fruit, wash and hull the strawberries, then cut in half. For the peaches I scored the bottoms and put them in boiling water for about 45 seconds so I could easily peel the skin off, then cut into chunks. Put into pot you will be cooking it in with grated ginger, then add calcium water and stir well. In a separate bowl, thoroughly mix room temperature honey and the pectin powder.  Bring the fruit to a boil and add the honey, vigorously stirring for about two minutes so the pectin dissolves. Return to a boil and then remove from heat. You want to make sure to skim the foam off the top of the mixture so you don’t get bubbles in your finished product. Then fill hot jars with the jam, leaving a little headspace. Clean rims, then place lid and cover onto jars. Return to boiling water (covering jars) for 10 minutes. Remove from water and listen for the ping! Will last about one month after opened.