Thanks to a donation to our church, I was blessed with 4 boxes of fresh fruit, pears and nectarines. We gave away one box to friends, family, and neighbors. I dehydrated close to one box worth of fruit, and went to town making pear sauce and raspberry nectarine jam with the other two. (The tomatoes in the picture were donated too and turned into awesome chili.)
There are a lot of sites with detailed descriptions of how to make jam and fruit sauces online...it's how I learned about 5 years ago! I'll just give you an overview of the process. I love the pick your own site to find farms near you to pick all kinds of fruit to turn into home-made goodness. They even recipes and how to's. I used them as a reference guide when creating my recipes too.
Step One: Wash all jars, lids, and rings. Place in pots of boiling water to sterilize (10 minutes or longer. I usually sterilize the jars early, then return the water to a boil right before filling when I have to peel and prepare fruit like this jam recipe.) I use half pint sized jars for jam.
Step Two: Wash and peel fruit.
(Trick to peeling pitted fruits is to boil them for about 2 minutes then quickly cool them in an ice bath. The peels will slide off much easier but you want to make sure not to cook the fruit too much or it will turn mushy.)
Step Three: Dice and slightly mash the fruit. (Tip: It takes about twice the amount of cups of raw, unprepared, whole fruit to make the desired amount of pealed and mashed fruit for jam.)
Step Four: Dissolve pectin in water, then add it and lemon juice to mashed fruit in a large pot. Bring fruit mixture up to a full boil for about a minute on high heat. ( I try to use no-sugar pectin but this time i couldn't find enough so I used one box of no-sugar and a half box of regular pectin. If you use only regular pectin you will need to increase the sugar in this recipe to 8 cups instead of six. Also, this picture shows the fruit before reaching a boil.)
Step One: Wash all jars, lids, and rings. Place in pots of boiling water to sterilize (10 minutes or longer.) I use pint sized jars for pear sauce.
Step Two: Wash, core, and chop pears into cubes. Place in pot with orange juice and water (the citric acid in the juice prevents too much browning). Side note: I leave the skins on because of
laziness...I mean added nutrients. You can always peel them if you prefer a smoother pear sauce but my family is cool with "Homestyle".
Step Four: Puree pears and liquid in batches. I pulse it a few times until broken up but not liquified. This step determines your consistency for the final product!
Step Six: Take jars out of boiling water using tongs, fill jars full of pear sauce leaving about 1/4 inch space on top, and cap with a sterilized lid and ring.
Step Seven: Process jars of pear sauce by boiling it in a water bath for 10 minutes.
Step Eight: Remove from water bath, place on counter and let rest until cooled (overnight). Or you can ladle some into a bowl, cool slightly and enjoy it while still warm and no need to process it. Again, verifying that all the jars are vacuum sealed by pressing in the center with your finger. I've never had a problem with jars not sealing because I'm pouring boiling hot jam/sauce into a jar that just came out of boiling hot water. They can be stored for 12 months (or more).
You could of coarse replace peaches for the nectarines or apples for the pears, depending on what you have available. All in all I made two batches of jam for a total of 21 jars (8 oz each), and four batches of pear-sauce for 28 jars full (16 oz each).