My eight year old son is following The Eczema Diet's low salicylate program so we needed an eczema-friendly treat that was both healthy and delicious (i.e. sweet). So this recipe was created and it's been our saviour - our first jar lasted less than 3 days as the whole family went a little overboard spreading it onto toast. We even mixed the jam into porridge (when we ran out of fresh fruit) and it made porridge a lot more appealing to the kids. We also mixed Jack's serve of Skin Friend AM into a heaped tablespoon of jam so he has his vitamins on sourdough toast.
Why pear jam?
Pears are not only a rich sources of dietary fibre (providing 24% of your daily needs), they also contain 12% of your daily vitamin C requirements, plus vitamin K, potassium and smaller amounts of calcium, magnesium and vitamins B2, B3 and B6.
Peeled, ripe pears are also naturally low in three of the itchy chemicals - salicylates, amines/histamines and glutamates - which makes peeled, ripe pears one of the few eczema-friendly fruits.
I've added natural vanilla to this recipe to make it a bit fancy and vanilla also has blood sugar balancing properties. However, you don't really need vanilla - it's lovely without it.
Photo: This version has a teaspoon of grated beetroot (moderate in salicylates).
Refer to 'How to sterilise jars' before you begin (see bottom of the page).
Dice the peeled pears and place them into a large pot with 1/4 cup of filtered water, vanilla (if using - or you can add the cabbage here) and rice malt syrup or real maple syrup. Cook on medium heat for 20 minutes or until very soft, stirring often and checking it doesn't burn (turn to low as needed). If the pears are ripe, it will soften easily.
For a chunky jam, mash with a potato masher. For a smooth jam, use a bar-mix or other method to puree the jam (caution is needed putting hot liquids into plastic containers, you may need to cool jam first). Personally I like the jam chunky as it's quick and easy.
Add the Jamsetta (or other jam-setting agent) and mix well. Cook for another ten minutes or so. Meanwhile, to test if the jam will set, place a freezer safe dish into the freezer. Ten minutes later take it out of the freezer and place a teaspoon of jam onto it. If the jam is ready, it will gel/thicken. If it's too thin, refer to the Jamsetta instructions. (I have personally found it always sets as the recipe does not use much water).
How to sterilise jars
To sterilise jars, their lids and utensils (ends of the tongs and spoons to pick up the jars and scoop up the jam), boil them for 5-10 minutes in a very large pot with enough water to cover them. To remove equipment, use tongs (remembering to sterilise the ends only). Seal jars with lids while hot to ensure longer shelf life of the product. Product should last for 6 months if the jars are sterilised correctly - however the above recipe is not made with sugar (a good preserver) so I suggest you use the Pear and Vanilla Jam within 10-14 days once the jar is opened, and store the jams in the refrigerator, not the cupboard.