October 6th, 2010

Pear-Zucchini Jam (or pear-courgette jam, furriners)

It should be noted, first of all, that this is not designed to be canned. It's a good way to use up leftover fruit that will not get ripe.

The only limitation on fresh ingredients is that you don't want anything too squishy in there. The squishier it is, the longer it will take. Pears and zucchini, for some reason, seem to cook up in about the same length of time. Also good: zucchini and garlic, but use olive oil for that.

First, grate your zucchini and pears. Use the big side of your grater, as the bits will shrink up and you do want texture.

Get out an old (but clean) T-shirt or other non-linty material for wringing. (I used a towel once and there were bits of lint all through. This is not good.) Use it to squeeze your shredded zukes and pears until they stop dripping. This is important, because otherwise it will take you hours and hours to cook the whole mess down.

I used two large zukes and two chunky pears that were too grainy to be crisp and too green to be melty. For this, I put about a quarter cup of butter (1/2 stick, or ~60gm) into my biggest skillet and melted it.

Butter has one advantage over olive oil for this recipe: if you get it too hot, it will crackle and brown and look gross, whereas olive oil will just smoke as it approaches deep-frying temps and then turn into a foul mess in your pan without warning. Try this for the first time with butter, and note how high your stove is turned. (This is actually a good way to get to know your stove without ruining too much food.)

For my purposes, since I just cooked enough bacon to kill a horse (if horses ate bacon), I replaced a quarter of the butter with bacon fat. Jury's still out on that for daily eating, but it's dang good with the buttermilk waffles and bacon.

Once the butter is getting a little brownish but not burnt, add your grated stuff. Add a few spoonfuls of sugar if you have an insatiable sweet tooth. Toss it around to make sure everything's coated with butter, and then cook it (stirring every few minutes) until it reaches a spreadable consistency. It should still be green and pretty, with almost all of the liquid evaporated.

This usually takes about 20-30 minutes to cook down, for me, so start it before everything else. Feel free to bump up the temperature by degrees to get it cooking faster; just watch it closely lest it scorch. (And if it does, turn the temp back down, scrape the pan, and mix the brown bits in.) Just don't let it burn, because with the sugar in there you'll get a burnt-caramel taste that makes it hard to eat.

Smear on waffles (or bread or toast or basically anything). Serve with bacon and hot tea/coffee. Happy weekend brekkers!



(Incidentally this stuff stays good in the fridge for longer than it actually lasts in the fridge. It's smooth and buttery and good on just about anything, and I guess you could freeze it if you had to.)