I have the fondest memory of my mom, my sisters and my Nana all going apple picking one August many years ago. I’m sure I was about 12 years old, and we drove to an orchard outside of town, and filled our garden baskets with as many gala apples as we could hold. It was so much fun! Even to this day, I only buy gala apples (first of all, cause they taste better), but partially just because of this childhood memory I have held onto. Now what does that have to do with pears? Not really anything (besides the pickin’ part!), I just wanted to share that memory 🙂
But we do have a pear tree in our backyard, and Greg has told me for the past few years that it actually bears fruit. Well, Greg never bothered picking and eating the pears, but since I’m obviously on a farming kick this summer, I decided we will actually eat some fruit! Last Friday I put on my gardening boots, grabbed the biggest basket and bowl we have, and started picking. Some of the pears are still a little small, so I left those on the tree, and tried just picking the bigger ones. I filled both baskets and then some! And that was only what I could reach at an arm’s length. I’ll have to get a big ladder this week to reach some of the higher branches. All these pears went into a cardboard box, and into a cool spot in the house where they will finish ripening. I did some pear research, and read that you actually want to pick pears when they are just firm enough on the tree to make a small indention with your thumb. Then you bring them inside, place them in a cool spot, and let them continue to ripen indoors.
With that in mind, I had picked a small batch last week that has been sitting in a large bowl in the laundry nook, so they were nice and ripe on Friday. I decided with this batch I would attempt to can them. I LOVE pears, so if I can stock up our pantry full of canned pears for the winter, I will be a happy camper 🙂 Having never canned pears yet, I did a little research and mainly just went by the instructions in the Ball Blue Book of Canning and Preserving that I have. The process itself was really simple, however I grossly underestimated the time it takes to peel and cut pears. (And keep in mind, this was a small batch of pears). It took me TWO HOURS to peel and cut those suckers! I finally just pulled up a stool to the counter to try to get comfy. Next time, I think I’ll set up shop on the back porch and at least enjoy some fresh air during the process.
But anyways, you peel them, cut them into slices and cut out the core. As you cut them up, drop the slices into a large bowl of anti-browning solution, which consists of:
- 1/2 gallon water
- 1 Tablespoon vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon salt (I went ahead and used canning salt)
|Light||2 cups||6 cups||7 cups|
|Medium||3 cups||6 cups||6 1/2 cups|
|Heavy||4 cups||6 cups||7 cups|
Begin heating the syrup on the stovetop. Meanwhile, pour some of the pears into a colander to drain the anti-browning solution, then drop them into the syrup. Bring syrup to a boil, and cook pears for approx. 10 mins.
Once cooked, fill your heated jars with pear slices, packing them in tight, then pour syrup over to fill the jar to the 1/2inch headspace.
Remove air bubbles by stirring and pressing against the pairs with a plastic knife. Then wipe the rim of the jar clean, seal with the lid, and replace jar into the canner over simmering water.
Once all your jars are filled, bring the water bath to a boil, then lower cans into the canner and process for 20 mins. Remove from the canner and let them seal! I haven’t tried any yet, but they sure look good 🙂