Yup, we sure did.
I provided the kitchen and the canner and my aunt picked the pears, cleaned the pears, peeled the pears, cut the pears, packed the pears, and processed the pears.
I practically did it all by myself!
the canning stuff, yawn
Right there you see the basic canning setup on the stovetop. I began doing this a few years ago, absorbed in some weird home ec flashback. I say weird, because home ec was actually more about how to not kill yourself in the kitchen and how to hand sew misshapen stuffed animals made of highly-flammable polyester. And less about useful stuff like, you know, canning.
Since this stuff often hits Facebook, I bet some of you were in that 7th grade home ec class, or had one yourself. Did you honestly ever cook anything more involved than no-bake chocolate cookies? If that. But I digress, as I am wont to do.
We (she) canned 6 pints of pears in 2 hours. Of course, many pears do not make it into little jars, and instead find themselves eaten by nephews and ignored by super adorable kittens.
Adapted from the Ball Blue Book of Preserving. It’s a canning bible. Seriously. I bolded the main parts, but really, the meat is in the unbolded stuff. Stuff like how not to shatter your jars, little things like that.
makes: 6 pints
prep: 30 minutes
processing: 20 minutes
out of the canner: 2 hours, tops
• boiling-water canner
• canning jars
• 2-piece lids.
• A canning kit is also really nice to have. It has a funnel, jar tongs, magnetic lid lifter — I do not know how I lived without this — and a couple other things I forget. Those three things are the most handy.
I’ve put together a bunch of canning equipment in the store too.
Now, Linda did a cold pack in medium syrup. The recipe calls for a hot pack in light syrup. I’m going to share the recipe version.
6 to 9 pounds of pears
2-1/4 cups sugar
5-1/4 cups water
1. Prepare jars and lids: Wash all in hot soapy water and rinse. You have to keep the jars hot. Ball’s going to kill me, but here’s how I do it, and how my mom did it: Stand the jars in a cold oven. Turn on the oven to 200. No higher, and no turning on the oven until the jars are in there.
Or if you have a dishwasher, run them through the dishwasher cycle, and leave them hot in there until ready to use. Man, it would be nice to have a dishwasher.
2. Put lids (not bands, they don’t need special treatment besides washing) in a small saucepan, and cover in water. Heat to a low simmer (180 degrees) and keep that way until you need them. Don’t boil.
2.5. Fill the canner about halfway with water, and put on to boil. If it comes to a boil while you’re still prepping, turn it down to a low simmer.
3. Prepare the light syrup. Mix sugar and water in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil. Simmer 2-3 minutes, or until sugar is dissolved. Keep hot.
4. Wash the pears. Just a little rinse is good; you’re going to peel them anyway.
5. Peel pears, cut into halves or quarters, and core. Put into a large bowl filled with water some Fruit Fresh to prevent darkening.
6. Add enough pears to the light syrup to cover the bottom of the pan in 1 layer, no deeper. Simmer lightly for 5-6 minutes, or until hot throughout.
7. Pack hot pears into hot jars. Ladle syrup over the pears, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. This is where the funnel comes in really handy.
8. Using a plastic knife or similar tool, remove air bubbles from the jars by running the knife around the inside of the jar. It may seem like it does nothing. Don’t worry; it helped.
9. Wipe the tops of the jars clean with a sponge or towel. Stuffing fruit into jars can get messy, and you want to make sure no bits or juice are clinging to the glass that the bands and lids touch. This can keep a good seal from forming in the water bath, which sucks because then you have to re-process.
10. Using the magnetic lid lifter, remove lids from the small saucepan and put them on the jars. Center the lids so the rubber seal is in contact with the glass. Don’t worry; this isn’t hard.
11. Twist bands onto the jars. Pay attention that the lids don’t get knocked too far out of whack. Tighten the bands only until you begin to feel resistance, to where they are on but they are not on tight. Tight bands before processing are bad.
12. Using your jar lifter, put your 6 pints of pears into the boiling water canner.
13. Bring the water to a hard rolling boil, then reduce to maintain a gentle rolling boil while processing. Once the water has come to a boil, process for 20 minutes.
14. After 20 minutes, you get to use the jar lifter again. Remove the jars from the canner and set them on a towel to cool. Don’t put them directly on the counter. Protip: a lot of these don’ts mean “if you do do this, your jars might shatter and create a huge mess.”
15. Allow them to sit on the counter for 12 to 24 hours. After this time has passed, check for the seal. Touch the top of the lid. If it gives, it didn’t seal and you must either refrigerate and eat within a few days or process again. If the lid doesn’t give, congrats! You’ve got pears!
Remove the bands before storing the canned pears. They aren’t needed and only tend to rust on the jars.