By cooking this in the microwave you not only reduce the cooking time, but preserve the real flavour and colour of the fruit. The risk of burning the base of the pan also disappears!
We’ve chosen pears here, but you can use whatever fruit you like: apples, strawberries and rhubarb all work beautifully. Just be aware you may have to adjust the amount of sugar and the cooking time depending on the acidity and water content of the fruit.
1.5kg (about 8) Conference pears, peeled, cored and chopped
juice of 1 lemon
250g white caster sugar
Place the fruit and lemon juice in a large, microwavable bowl or container, covering loosely with a plate or lid. Microwave at full power (800W) for 10 minutes, stirring after 5.
Add the sugar and pulse the mix with a hand-held blender, but keep it chunky: it’s better to have pieces of fruit than perfect smoothness.
Return to the microwave, uncovered, for a final 15–20 minutes or until the water from the fruit has mostly evaporated, mixing every 5 minutes. It needs this long because there’s a lot of moisture in the pears that needs to be evaporated. Test to see if the jam is ready by putting a little on a chilled plate: if it holds its shape, it’s ready. Allow to cool completely.
(If you haven’t got a microwave, put all the ingredients into a pan and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat until it is at a fast simmer. After 10 minutes – or when the fruit is pulpy – use a balloon whisk to smash up the fruit, but leave some texture. Allow 20 minutes’ more cooking time, then test by putting a little on a chilled plate, and checking if it holds its shape. Cook for a little longer if needed before testing again.)
Pot into sterilised jars (see here) while it and the jars are still warm. It will keep for a month in the fridge.