Pear peel jelly might sound gross, but it’s not. At all. It’s delicious. My husband says we should call it “Oh.My.Goodness! Jelly.” I personally call it “Heaven on a Spoon.”
It’s that good.
Of course, the name Pear Peel Jelly is a little deceiving because you don’t actually chop up a bunch of pear peels to make the jelly. Instead you use the juice from pear peels and cores. It’s the old idea of “waste not, want not” combined with the newer idea of “Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.”
I just save the peels and cores from pears that I freeze for future cobblers, pies, & muffins or that I use to make pearsauce. Pears can be used in any recipe that calls for apples with no problem at all! It’s a great way to get the most from our pear harvest.
- 4 cups of pear juice (you’ll need the peels and cores of about 20 pears, depending on their size)
- 1 box of regular powdered pectin
- 4 cups of sugar
- 1 Tbsp of lemon juice
- cinnamon to taste (I don’t measure, just sprinkle. I’d say approx. 1/2 – 3/4 tsp)
- Using a juicer, juice the peels until you have 4 cups of juice. (The best juicer that I’ve found is an Omega – making jelly is super easy and it even grinds my coffee beans! If you don’t have a juicer yet, see Tips & Notations below for instructions)
- Measure sugar into a bowl; set aside.
- Use 1/4 cup of your pre-measured sugar and combine with pectin.
- In a large pot, combine pear juice, pectin/sugar mixture, lemon juice, and cinnamon.
- Cook, stirring often, until juice reaches a boil that can’t be stirred down.
- Using a whisk, stir in remaining sugar.
- Continue to stir until mixture reaches a boil that can’t be stirred down.
- Boil for 1 minute.
- Using the spoon test (see #6 below if needed), check to see if mixture is ready for gel point. If not, continue to boil in 1 minute increments until it is.
- When ready, ladle into hot, sterile jars. Wipe rim with a damp, clean cloth.
- Place seals and rings on jars, tightening just “finger tight.”
- Process in water bath canner for 10 minutes.
- Remove lid; wait 5 minutes.
- Remove jars to counter to cool for 24 hours.
- Label and store!
Yield: About 7 half-pint jars
Tips and Notations:
- Using a good juicer is, by far, the easiest & timeliest way to extract the juice from your pears, but the old-fashioned way works as well. Just follow these instructions: Place peels and cores in a large pot, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Continue to boil for 20-30 minutes. Use a potato masher to press on the peels and cores to release all the flavor goodness you can get. Strain through cheese cloth.
- Use less cinnamon if you’re not a big fan of the spice. Or omit it all together if you’d like. I think it adds an excellent, almost apple-cobbler-like taste to the jelly.
- Right before you “spoon test,” taste test the jelly (being very careful not to burn your lips!) and add a bit of sugar or cinnamon if needed.
- Prepare your jars ahead of time and keep them waiting in a 150° oven on a cookie sheet. Use a clean oven mitt or cloth to remove them as needed.
- Have a plate and spoon next to your stove for easy spoon testing.
- Not sure what spoon testing is? It’s the easiest way to see if your juice mixture will form into a jelly. At the right point in the process, you simply scoop out a small spoonful of your boiling mixture and place it on a plate. Using your finger, quickly swipe through the center of your “jelly blob.” If the 2 sides stay separated like the Red Sea, it’s ready! If not, continue boiling and checking in 1 minute increments. Sometimes it’s ready the 1st time I check; sometimes it’s the 3rd or 4th time. Don’t get in a hurry; it’ll happen.
- The whole process goes much more smoothly if you have the right tools. My favorite canning accessories are a magnetic wand for lifting hot lids and rings, a huge funnel for ease when filling jars, and a jar picker-upper for when getting the jars out of the hot water bath.
- And, finally, don’t feel that you can only use your peels and cores. You can certainly use the whole pear if you’d like.
If you’re new to canning, I’d recommend that you get yourself a copy of The All New Ball Book of Canning and Preserving. You won’t regret it!