Last weekend, my friend Diane came over to help me preserve both pears and tomatoes. When she left at 3 pm, I spent an additional two hours finishing up a mega-batch of Caramel-Pear Butter (recipe from the new issue of Bon Appetit). While she was here, we made Spicy Pear Jam:
with golden raisins and cardamom. That fabulous Pomona Pectin guarantees a wonderful, not-too-firm, and not-too-soft set. The flavor is divine, and makes even the most delicious scone or muffin taste even better.

The Caramel-Pear Butter takes its name from the addition of dark brown sugar rather than white sugar, and is thick, luscious, and totally decadent. I highly recommend Bon Appetit’s recipe if you happen to have twenty or more pounds of extra pears lying around the house but can’t bear to eat another one out-of-hand because, well, they have been a dietary staple for the better part of a month. I tripled the recipe which explains why it needed to cook down for close to three hours. But it was worth it. Trust me. This stuff is edible gold.

My favorite, however, is the Spicy Tomato Jam, from Mark Bittman’s recent Minimalist column in the NY Times. So utterly delectable is this product, I called it “gourmet ketsup” and persuaded my family to slather it on the grilled burgers we had last night for dinner (It was even great on my Dr. Praeger’s Tex-Mex veggie burger). The minced ginger, finely chopped hot pepper (I used one from the garden, along with the tomatoes), and cumin play off the sugar, cinnamon and cloves so effectively that your tongue will do a happy dance in your mouth. It’s that good. You should make some. Right now, even if you have to buy the tomatoes. With its bright, zesty flavor, half a dozen pint jars will keep you smiling through the winter.

All in all, a well-spent Saturday.

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  1. Caramel-Pear Butter sounds delicious!!! I wish I had a garden and some canning talent … or at the very least I wish I was your neighbor so I could come over for breakfast and have some of that on an English muffin!

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