Yesterday the girls and I headed to a local Fruit Stand in hopes they had pears by the bushel full. We were in luck. Just $7.95 per half bushel. Yay! I grabbed one full bushel and a couple of other things and headed home. I had canned some pears earlier this season, but the girls wanted more for the winter, and I really didn’t know how I would keep 10 quarts to last all winter and spring long, so we decided to do more.
Step 1: Set out of all of the needed supplies. From right to left…water bath (or pressure cooker, I happen to use a water bath), kettle for heating lids, lids and bands, large kettle for making syrup and cooking pears, plastic spoon, white sugar, ladle, clean jars (keep them out at room temperature or in a sink of warm/hot water. This ensures they won’t crack when putting boiling syrup into them or later putting them into the water bath.), funnel (regular size and wide mouth), lemon juice or ascorbic acid (to stop fruit from browning in jar), large bowl, a pearing knife or vegetable peeler, a set of canning tongs, a couple of clean hand towels or paper towels and a large bath towel or large hand towel and a Coke.
There, you have everything you need to preserve pears for the winter.
The Coke of course is for you.
Step 2: Place water and lids in a small kettle and turn burner on warm. Keep this kettle going with warm water as long as you are canning. This softens the seal of the lid so when you seal the jar it
Step 3: Make the syrup (basically water with a boat load of sugar). I use 7 cups of sugar and 10 cups of water. Stir it and keep it on medium. The sugar will dissolve and then you’ll pack the pears with it. This won’t be enough for an entire bushel of pears but it’s a good start.
Step 4: Rinse and peel pears. I do mine right in the sink and toss the peels down the garbage disposal. I heart my garbage disposal.
It’s the little things….
Step 5: Cut the pears into whatever shape and size you want. I choose the “they will taste the same no matter what shape they are and I have an entire bushel of pears to do so I’m not making them look pretty” shape. Place them in a large bowl until you get a batch (maybe 10 cups?). Then place them in the kettle with the hot syrup. Let them boil for about 10 minutes, or until they are the softness you prefer.
Step 7: Using the plastic spoon’s handle, poke down the pears. This lets the air out of the jars. You might need to add a bit more juice after you do this.
Step 8: Splash a bit of lemon juice in each jar, about 1/2 tsp. It won’t affect the taste. Next, using a clean, wet towel or paper towel wipe the jar tops off. This eliminates anything getting in the way of a proper seal.
Step 9: After you’ve filled and wiped the jars place the seal and band on tightly. Once you think you have the band on tight enough turn it once more, making sure it’s not going anywhere. Next, use your canning tongs and gently place the jars in the water bath. Make sure they don’t touch each other. Also, make sure there is at least an inch of water covering the jars.
Step 9 1/2: Make sure all of your plastic spoons are away from the hot burners.
Step 10: Taking each jar out of the water bath with the canning tongs place them on a towel on your kitchen counter. Make sure there is enough space between each one so air can flow through. They will seal as they cool.
Step 11: Let the jars sit for 24 hours in a well-ventilated place. Don’t touch them…let them seal by themselves (they will “pop” when they are ready.)
After 24 hours remove the bands from each jar and make sure the seals are solid. Wipe each jar and place it in a cool resting place where they will visit each other during the year until you eat them.
One bushel of pears rendered 2 quarts and 27 pints of finished product. It also left enough to stick some in the frig for eating a small number of them to try making pear butter.