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Sunday, August 25, 2013

canned pears

 I love canning! You can see by my canning cupboard that I have a fair variety now of things which I make successfully. It's handy to keep certain things in food-safe storage not in the freezer, so that I can grab and use right away and also so I have more room in my freezer for other things. Like meat! I love my meat. (Sorry, veggie friends.)

As of this time of writing, I have in my canned goods larder: mango chutney, strawberry jam regular and 1/3rd sugar, chili jelly mild and hot, peaches, apricot jam, applesauce spiced and plain, tomato sauce of a few spiced flavors, and as of yesterday also minted pears and Christmas pears. I have plans for even more goods, but first I want to share these pear recipes with you!


These two recipes are pretty straightforward. The time is mainly consumed in peeling the pears, so be warned. One batch may take as long as a couple of hours, depending on the skill of your fingers. Both are a hot pack method -- meaning, instead of putting in the raw produce cold and pouring hot syrup over it before water bathing, you cook the produce in the hot syrup and then pack it all hot into the jars before water bathing. So, one extra step added than cold pack canning. But still pretty simple.

Minted pears are light, crisp, and taste of summer. Use fresh mint for the best flavor, but dried mint seems to work as well. I will give you quantities for each. One canned pear comes to about 150 calories, without juice.

Christmas pears are made with cranberry juice, honey, brandy, and spices. They are quite unlike most things you might serve for dessert, but boy will they wow your holiday guests! One canned pear comes to about 250 calories, without juice.

Both recipes yield a delicious syrup that taste divine iced with a splash of rum or brandy. So save the juice for date night!

Minted Pears -- yields roughly 7-9 pints

A: heat in small saucepan until reaches boiling, immediately then taking off the heat and covering for 15 minutes to yield a strong mint tea:
1 c lightly packed fresh mint leaves or 1/3 c dried mint leaves
1 c water


B: in a 6 quart pot combine:
5 2/3 c water
3/4 c sugar
Heat until sugar dissolves. Add the well-strained mint tea. Keep hot but do not boil.

C: wash, peel, core, and halve or quarter pears. I found quartering to be the easiest. Place in a bowl of color keeper solution (read the box directions).
7 lbs pears
ascorbic acid color keeper




D: once A, B and C are ready, add drained pears to the combined liquid solutions. Heat to boiling and simmer for 5 minutes. Pears should be soft but not mushy. Keep covered.

E: use a slotted spoon to "pack" pears into hot, sterilized pint jars. Cover with syrup leaving 1/2 inch head space. Wipe jar rims and secure lids. Process pints in a boiling water canner for 20 minutes from the time the water returns to a low boil. (Quarts process 25 minutes.) Cool on a wire rack, or as I prefer, on a wooden board covered with several tea towels. (Cooling directly on the counter can cool jars unevenly and cause cracks in the glass. Not worth it after all that work!)

Christmas Pears -- yields roughly 6-7 pints


A: wash, peel, core, and halve or quarter pears. I found quartering to be the easiest. Place in a bowl of color keeper solution (read the box directions).
7 lbs pears
ascorbic acid color keeper

B: in a 6-8 quart pot combine:
4 c cranberry juice (may use apple juice/cider)
1 1/2 c honey
1/2 c lemon juice
3 Tbs chopped fresh ginger or 2 Tbs dried chopped ginger
8 inches stick cinnamon, broken into 2 inch pieces
1/2 tsp (about 6) whole cloves
Heat to boiling, creating your spiced syrup.

C: add drained pears to B, plus 1/3 c brandy. Return to boiling, and then simmer on low for 5 minutes or so, until pears are cooked tender but not mushy. Stir as needed to keep froth down.

D: use a slotted spoon to "pack" pears into hot, sterilized pint jars. Cover with syrup leaving 1/2 inch head space, using a tea strainer to catch the herbs as you pour. Wipe jar rims and secure lids. Process pints in a boiling water canner for 20 minutes from the time the water returns to a low boil. (Quarts process 25 minutes.) Cool on a wire rack, or as I prefer, on a wooden board covered with several tea towels. (Cooling directly on the counter can cool jars unevenly and cause cracks in the glass. Not worth it after all that work!)

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