Ok, So I have googled until my eyes are crossed at how to make pear preserves. Some say to let them sit overnight in sugar. Others say to boil them in sugar and then drain the sugar syrup off of them and "dry " pack the pears then add the syrup back over them. Well, I have come up with my own way to do it. With my Mama and Memaw's tips in the back of my mind.
First, find a friend with a pear tree. Offer a pie,and ask if you can pick pears. Or offer preserves in exchange for pears.
Pick the pears. You want to pick large to medium pears. The small ones need a wee bit more time.So therefore there will be more for later batches.
Start small.Dont make a huge batch until youve tried it before.See what works for your stove,your pot,and where you live.
First You will need:
1 canner pot. Can be found at Walmart, or even your local Mom and Pop hardware store
5 pint jars or 10 1/2 pint jars
1 pair of tongs,
1 large outh funnel
10 jar lids and rings
med size pan, large enough for lids and rings to swim in
1 large wooden spoon
1 scooping spoon, a ladle works,or just a big scooped bottom spoon
A stove,preferably indoors where there is A.C.
10 pears,fresh from the tree,or even 2 days,I've found if left in Joshes truck for 4 days they get mushy and fonkey
5 lb bag of sugar.
1 cup measuring cup
1 large stock pot
1 fresh lemon
candied ginger, optional
1 pairing knife, very sharp! that is a must,that it be sharp and you can maneouver it.
1 big bowl
1 walmart sack, or kroger or where ever.just get a sack,you know,the ones you use in your bathroom can or beside the couch.
1 dishtowel,not a good one either,get one that broke in.
So that is what you need.
Now here comes my little prodgect. I have made the sit overnight preserves,and right now currently in my own large stock pot are pears.They have been sitting in lemon juice,1 1/2 cups water,and 5 cups of sugar. I am going to test if setting them soaking in sugar really makes a difference.
Ok, so now you have all your tools. Find something good on TV or go outside and turn on the radio
Ok, Now that you have all you to do is cut the lemon in half. Squeeze the juice from one half into large bowl.Add 1-2 cups of water. if seeds get in there,pick em out. It helps to nuke the lemon for about 15 seconds,then roll it on the counter a few turns. Juice comes right out.
Now, take the pears, bowl with water in it,knife,sack,and dish towel.
find a comfy place to sit,
place bowl to the side of whatever handness you are not.
place sack in lap
take first pear and peel it,letting skin drop into sack.
put it in the bowl.be sure to roll it in the lemon juice.
follow suit with the remaining pears.
Now, cut up the pears,cut them big or small,but Id say no bigger than a quarter size,I like mine a small thin dice.
Now once thats done, add sugar.If you have 6 cups of pears, add 4-5 cups of sugar.
let sit on counter covered in dish towel over night.If youre a germaphob,place in fridge.
give the bowl of pears a good stir.
pour into big pot.
add remaining lemon juice. start it on high,until it boils. stir some while coming to a boil.its hard to scrub off a pan,trust me. reduce to med heat.
Now,this is going to take a while,so go turn on a load of laundry.Come back and stir the pot.
I stir mine about every ten minutes for about 45 minutes. As the syrup begins to thicken,stir it more often.
Its done when the pears are semi translucent,or fully translucent and syrup is thick and honey colored.
As the pears cook away, fill your big pot up to a bit over half full. bring to a boil,then simmer until pears are done cooking,then return to roiling boil.
Clean jars. I was mine int he sink with dish soap and vinegar.In as hot as you can possibly stand it water.Let them soak about 5 minutes.
While theyre soaking, get pot out for lids and rings. put lids and rings into pot,cover with water and bring to a rolling boil,then simmer.
rinse jars in pure hot water.invert on a baking rack,over a dish towel.
When pears are finished, place jars on a think cutting sheet,cutting board,or even a cookie sheet would work.
turn heat off lids,drain water
get funnel and place it over the first jar. Use spoon or ladle and add pears to jars.
****Be SURE to leave 1/4 inch headspace in jars.If you cant tell how big that is,I fill mine till just when the jar begins to form where the rings twist on.
Place lids on jars, then twist on rings. I use a dishtowel for this. use half of it to hold the hot jar,and the other end to squeeze the ring on tight.
Use jar tongs and put jars into water bath canner
Boil ten minutes. take jars out and sit them on the counter to cool.
****At Walmart and probably even a regular grocery store this time of year,a canning kit can be found. The box has a funnel,Jar tongs, a lid picker upper thingie with a magnet on it,and this thing that looks like a ruler with teeth on the end of it. last year I used all of the tools,but now I can judge better how full 1/4 is, and I lost the magnent thingie,so I just use my hands to pick up the lids.
If you add ginger to your pears, add it when you begin to boil it,and keep it whole if you plan to remove it.If you plan to just keep it in the pears,then dice it.
* I add lemon zest to my preserves. I simply just like it.
*jars can be used again and again.so can rings,but lids should only be used once. As when youre done with whatever is in the jar,throw away the lid,but keep the ring and jar.
* dont cover the pears once theyre in the pot.they will get too mushy.
I hope you enjoy making these. I tried to give the instructions from a novice canners veiw point.This is only my second year to can,and if you read previous post from last summer,you will see that it is trial and error. This year I feel like a pro.But theres always new things to can,and tips to learn!!!