March is the peak season (in Australia) for William pears and a bunch of other varieties, which makes it the perfect time to make your preserves. Pears are cheap, plentiful, high quality, and in theory you could make your whole year's worth of preserves right now.
Quite some time ago my best friend sent me a link to recipe and asked if it could be done failsafe. A really quick look at the ingredients told me that it practically was. It was a recipe for Pear and Vanilla Bean Honey and quite frankly, it looked divine. I made it and, lo and behold, it was divine. My son ate it at every opportunity, on toast, on sandwiches, on (homemade) crumpets, on scones, on ice cream and straight from the jar.
Here is my adaptation (it makes way more than the original, because really, why bother to make one jar when you can make five).
Pear and Vanilla Bean Honey
- 12 ripe pears, peeled, cored and quartered
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1/2 vanilla bean
- 3 1/2 cups white sugar
- 1/2 tsp citric acid
- Pop your pears into a large saucepan with the water, bring to the boil and simmer until the pears are very soft and squishy.
- Push the pears and the liquid through a sieve - and no you can't just put them in the food processor, because with the sieve you get rid of all the thick fibres which would get stuck in your teeth and ruin the texture.
- Put back into cleaned pot. Split the vanilla bean and add the seeds and the pod. Add the sugar and the citric acid.
- Bring to a gentle boil and cook for about 45 minutes.
- Pour into hot, sterile jars and once it is cool store in the fridge. This is not preserved as well as jam, it is far too liquid and I can't say that it would keep safely out of the fridge.