October 22, 2009
There are certain things from my childhood that evoke specific experiences. Canned pears are one of those things. When I was six my family drove out to the desert in southeast Oregon. We drove across country in a converted school bus, and very carefully planned and packed our bus with supplies, including many cans of pears. I remember the smell, texture, and taste of the pears, floating in syrup. I remember eating pears in syrup at dusk, while watching for wild horses in the distance.
When my friend Clint (with the pear tree) gave me another bag full of pears I decided to try canning them in halves, as I remembered. The process of making canned (technically “jarred”) pears is simple. I got the basic directions from the recently revised Joy of Cooking.
I peeled the pears and put them in an anti browning solution of lemon juice and water.
Meanwhile I made a sugar syrup using approximately 1/2 cup sugar for every quart of water. Joy of Cooking gives guidelines for how much/little sugar should be used, an I went somewhere in the middle, on the less sweet side.
Then after cooking pears, I carefully placed each slice into warm jars and processed according to directions. When I tried fitting the pear halves into the regular pint jars that I had I realized that they wouldn’t really fit. I decided to get some wide mouth jars as well, so now I have some jars with pear quarters and some jars with pear halves.
And thats it! Very simple, and the result I tried for breakfast this morning. The pears were rather firm to start with, so they maintained a nice texture even after cooking and processing in the boiling water bath. I am looking forward to lots of cozy pear treats this fall and winter!