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Spiced Pear Freezer Jam Recipe

Hello my Green Friends!  How have you been??  To say that I fell off the face of the Earth for a little while seems to be a bit of an understatement, but all is well.  We’ve been super busy getting things done around the house, work’s been getting fairly busy, and we got to take a trip to WI for my honey’s brother’s wedding.  The trip was extremely busy but it was really nice to see the family and visit with some friends.  We were able to enjoy real fall weather while we were up North!  It was in the 50’s during the day, so we got to wear jackets!  That may not sound that unusual but it was a nice change from the 80 degree weather that we’re still getting in FL.  On our last day, we visited an apple farm and got some hot apple cider, apple fritters, apple cider doughnut holes, and some apple butter.  Such delicious fall goodies!  The trip really got me in the mood for fall, even though once we got home, I immediately put on shorts and a t-shirt.

Spiced Pear Jam 1

Over the summer, when the local strawberry farms were in full production, I tried making my first freezer jam and it was delicious!  I used the last of the jam as a filler in a strawberry shortcake style cake recently and knew that I had to replenish my jam stock.  Strawberries are no longer in season, but pears are and they are perfect for that taste of fall that I’m craving!  I’ve never made a pear jam before, so I did a little research and came up with a new freezer jam recipe to try.  I don’t have all of the paraphernalia required to can, so that’s why I stuck with the freezer jam, but I’m sure this recipe would work just as well if you were to can it instead (although the process may be slightly different).

I prefer low sugar jam recipes and discovered that Pomona’s Universal Pectin is highly recommended.  Not only is it good for low sugar recipes, but you can also use honey, agave, maple syrup, stevia, xylitol, sucanat, or even frozen juice concentrate.  It keeps indefinitely, is gluten free, and vegan!  Every package comes with a set of recipes and directions (also available on their website here) and I do recommend you check it out because it does work differently than other pectin since it is 100% citrus pectin with no added sugars, preservatives, additives, or dextrose.

This recipe made 6 cups or 3 pint jars.

Spiced Pear Jam 3

Low Sugar Spiced Pear Freezer Jam

Ingredients

  • 4 cups mashed pears (I used 5 large Bartlett pears)
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup sugar (I did use granulated sugar for this recipe, just to keep things simple (since I’m still fairly new to jam making!), but I think experimenting with honey will be next on my list.
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 3/4 cup water (for dissolving pectin)
  • 3 tsp pectin
  • 4 tsp – 12 tsp calcium water (instructions included with pectin)
  1.  Clean your containers.  I used Mason jars, of course!
  2. Prepare your fruit and combine with lemon juice in a large bowl.
  3. Add sweetener, cinnamon, and ginger to fruit and stir well.
  4. Bring 3/4 cup of water to boil.  Put in blender and add pectin powder.  Vent lid and blend 1-2 minutes, until all powder is dissolved.
  5. Add hot liquid pectin to fruit and stir until well mixed.
  6. Add 4 tsp calcium water, stir well.  Jell should appear.  If not, continue adding 1 tsp calcium water and stirring well until jell appears.  Jell may be softer than cooked jam.  (It took the total 12 tsp for me.)
  7. Fill containers to 1/2″ of top, put on lids, and store in freezer immediately.  Store in freezer for up to 1 year.  Keep in refrigerator after thawing.

Spiced Pear Jam 2

My pear jam came out tasting just as delicious as fresh fruit and wonderfully warming with the added spices.  I couldn’t help but make a couple of baguettes to go along with the jam!  This would make a great hostess gift if you’re visiting for the holidays.  Just add a label (you can find some fun, vintage style free printables that you can customize from World Label here) and wrap in a tea towel with a raffia ribbon.

Have you tried making jam?  What are some of your favorite flavors?  I’m suddenly thinking about all kinds of yummy sounding flavors like pear vanilla, peach blackberry, plum cardamom, raspberry lime…

Three Easy Steps to Clean Up A Broken CFL Bulb

With the eco revolution that’s been going on in recent years, it’s probably pretty safe to assume that everyone has heard that switching their incandescent bulbs to CFL’s is the way to go.  Yes, they cost more upfront, but over the course of the bulb’s life, CFL’s save.  They use about 75% less energy to provide the same amount of light and last about six times longer.  CFL bulbs also generate 70% less heat so not only are they safer to operate, but they also reduce the cost of cooling homes and offices.  Sounds like a no brainer to me.

cfl green background

Here’s the thing, though.  CFL’s contain a very small amount of mercury sealed within the glass.  Under normal operation, this is perfectly fine and is no cause for alarm.  If a CFL bulb breaks, the mercury is released into the air as a vapor and it is very important to clean it up and dispose of it properly.

Cleaning Up A Broken CFL

  • Air out the room for 5-10 minutes.  Keep all people and furpeople out of the area while it’s airing out.
  • Use a piece of stiff cardboard to scoop up the large pieces of glass.  Super sticky tape like packing tape will help pick up any small pieces and shards.  Put all broken pieces in a sealable container like a glass jar with a lid or a ziplock style plastic bag.  Do NOT vacuum; it could actually spread the mercury vapor.
  • Contact your local government about disposal.  Some municipalities require CFL bulbs (whether they are broken or not) to be recycled.  Others don’t have this requirement and will allow you to throw them away with your trash.  If you can, continue to air out the room for a few hours and store the broken CFL outside until you can dispose of it.

Personally, I don’t feel right just throwing a broken CFL away with my regular garbage, only to have that glass and mercury sit in a landfill.  Most hardware stores in my area recycle CFLs including Ace, Lowe’s, How Depot, and True Value.  If you are unsure of where your local recycling center is, you can look it at Earth 911.

By the way, don’t freak out if you break a CFL.  It is only a small amount of mercury (less than 1/100th of what’s in a mercury thermometer), but it is still important to take proper clean up steps for the safety of your family and the environment.

For more information, check out the EPA’s page about cleaning up broken CFL’s.