I’ve been running a pretty tight ship, refrigerator-wise. I’m digging right through to the back, taking inventory. On one such spelunking mission I came up with a bag containing 6 overripe pears. Pale yellow and dented, they were far too delicate to travel any distance in a lunch bag. There were too many to grate into muffins or pancakes. My freezer, which unloads the same container of pesto and a few disks of pastry dough every time I open the door, had no room. So while W sat at the table and did his home reading out loud, I chopped them into a pot with some water, sugar and ginger and made a compote. Or jam. Or something that looks great in a jar and is delicious on toast.
It’s not as sweet as most jam, which is why I felt the need to call it a compote. I dumped in a handful of cranberries from the freezer as an afterthought, which made it irresistibly sweet-tart and blushed. It might have been raspberries, or rhubarb. Whatever’s falling out of your freezer.
I admit I winged this. If you cook fruit and sugar it’s inevitable that at some point you’ll wind up with something jam-like. But this is roughly how it was done. (And no, you don’t need to peel your pears. Too much work, and those ripe skins are so thin you don’t even notice them. Plus they have fibre, which is a good thing.) By the way, those are Weck jars, from Crate & Barrel Southcentre!
Cranberry-Pear Ginger Preserves
5-6 ripe pears, cored and roughly chopped
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup water or apple juice
1 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger
1-2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
Put everything into a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, occasionally mashing with a large spoon or potato masher, until the mixture thickens, looks more uniform and jam-like. (Remember it will thicken as it cools.) Transfer to clean jars and refrigerate.
Makes 3-4 cups.