Among its many uses, honey is also a great substitute for sugar in homemade preserves. In fact, honey was used to preserve foods for winter long before cane sugar was introduced in Europe. Not only is it the traditional way to do things, it adds a nice nuance to the flavor of your preserves, and is a healthier alternative to regular cane sugar. Because honey doesn’t crystallize the same way as sugar, it’s helpful to add some pectin to your recipe to help the gelling process. We also find that Lehua blossom honey works best for jam making because of its creamy consistency. Since it’s autumn, pears and apples are starting to ripen, and making spreads and fruit butters is a great way to enjoy fall fruits year-round.
Makes about 5 cups
- Enough asian pears for about 4 ½ cups mashed fruit (around 6 pounds)
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- ¾ cup Organic Ohia Lehua Blossom honey
- ¾ cup cane sugar
- 3 ½ tsp pectin powder (such as Pomona’s Universal Pectin*)
- 5 tsp calcium water (provided in the box along with the pectin)
- Clean, sanitized canning jars with 2-piece lids
- A very large pot
- Tongs or canning lifter for removing the jars from boiling water
- Peel, core and roughly chop the pears. Place in a pan with about ½ inch water, cover, and simmer until slightly soft. Drain the water, then transfer the pears to a food processor or food mill and process until smooth (how chunky or smooth is up to you).
- Return pear puree to the pan, and add lemon juice, along with the 5 tsp calcium water. Stir to combine.
- In a separate small bowl or measuring cup, stir together cane sugar and pectin powder, making sure it is evenly mixed.
- Bring the pear mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally to distribute heat evenly. Add the sugar-pectin mixture and stir until dissolved (about 30 seconds to a minute). Then stir in the honey and mix until well blended.
- Return the whole mixture to a boil, then remove from heat.
- Ladle the fruit mixture into clean, sanitized jars, leaving about ¼ inch of space to the rim of the jar. Wipe the jar rims clean, then screw on 2-piece lids.
- Put the filled jars in boiling water (there should be about an inch of water above the lids of the jars). Boil the jars for 10 minutes (this seals the jars so you can keep them in the pantry). Remove from the water and let cool completely. If jar lids are not sealed (the tops should be sucked down) when cool, either simply store the jam in the freezer, or replace the lid and try the canning process one more time.
*You can substitute other pectins or gelling agents, but be sure to check the instructions – they might be different from these, particularly when using honey instead of sugar
This jam is of course delicious as an alternative to your Lehua honey on your morning toast, or it can be served with a sharp, good quality cheese and crackers (pictured above).