Gingered Pear Orange Preserve with Cardamom, without commercial pectin

Three of my very favorite fruits begin with the letter ‘P’: persimmons, preferably Fuyu; Pippin apples, sadly they have been replaced with the single note Granny Smith; and pears.  All pears are delicious, particularly the Bosc.  A few weeks ago I had a basket of pears that were past eating out of hand, and since it was Super Bowl Sunday and I was in the kitchen producing snacks for the gathered fellows, I put together a little batch of preserves with what I had on hand, a piece of ginger and a couple of oranges.  It turned out to be deliciously complex  and layered with flavors; the bitterness of the orange peel set off the sweet pears, while the spicy heat of the ginger came through at the end.  Today I noticed that the Anjou pears on the dining room table had been passed over in favor of the Bosc pears in the kitchen bowl, and decided to recreate the Gingered Pear preserve and document the recipe. It just seemed like these were ripe with possibilities, and we do live in possibility city! I use whole oranges, as pears have very little pectin, and the Co-op rarely uses commercial pectin.  Basically, if you have about 6 pears, a couple of oranges and a small hand of fresh ginger, you can put this together in a couple of hours.   Peel and dice a cup of fresh ginger.  Scrub a couple of oranges, cut about 1/4″ off each end, then cut in half.  Cut those halves in half, and thinly slice.  These were navels so there were no seeds, but discard the seeds and any large center cores.  Put these in your preserving pot with 2 cups of water and 1/4 tsp. of kosher salt, and boil for 15 minutes to soften. If it looks close to boiling dry, add a little water. Add 5 cups of chopped pears, cored but not peeled, 6 cups of sugar (white, cane sugar) and 1/2 tsp. ground cardamom.  Put the canner on to start heating. Cook to gel stage, about 40 minutes, then ladle into prepared jars and process 10 minutes.  You can find the complete recipe on the Recipes tab.Gingered pear orange preserve, flavored with cardamom, uses only the natural pectin from the oranges.  The Co-op keeps the sugar content of our preserves significantly lower than commercial preserves by using the whole fruit pectin in our citrus fruits.

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