Pearpocalypse, Part II: The Recipes
October 11, 2014
It occurs to me I should have put recipes/directions for each of these. So here you ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em go:
Peel, core and slice (or dice, as you prefer) pears. I put mine in a bowl of water with some vinegar or lemon juice, so they won’t turn brown.
For every five pounds of peeled and sliced pears, add three pounds of sugar. Add a glug of lemon juice (for my big 10-quart Dutch oven, I use about a quarter-cup) and about a teaspoon of salt. Cover and cook over medium-low heat for about three or four hours, or until syrup thickens when dripped onto a cold plate. I tend to judge by the color of my pears; I want them past golden, well into the reddish-brown stage.
To can, wash jars in the dishwasher with heated dry cycle on. Line a cookie sheet with a dish towel and wet the dishtowel; put the clean jars on the cookie sheet and put in the oven on about 200. Put lids in a saucepan of water and boil for 10 minutes. I take my canning funnel and sit it down in the water with the lids. Have rings, canning tongs, and a little magnet thingy for the lids handy, along with a clean saucer or salad plate to set the funnel on.
Using funnel and a ladle, fill jars to within 1 to 3/4 inch of the top. Use the magnet thingy to get a lid from the hot water (if two stick together, you’ll have to use a paring knife to separate them) and put it on top of the jar. Slide the ring over the magnet thingy and onto the top of the jar, and screw it down loosely while using the magnet thingy to hold the lid in place.
Use a dishtowel to pick the jar up and tighten the lid finger-tight. It will seal on its own as it cools.
Peel, core, and grate pears (I used the grater blade on my FoPro.) Measure, and for every four cups of pears, add two cups of sugar and a half-cup of water, a half-cup of crushed pineapple, and a tablespoon of lemon juice. Cook until it’s just golden, and can as above.
Note: The original recipe calls for two cups sugar to every three cups pears. I thought that was a bit much, so I cut it back. It also calls for lemon zest and juice, but all I had was a bottle of juice.
I did this just like I do my apple butter. It’s slightly grainier, just because, I guess, the flesh of the pear has that grainy texture. I tried some spiced with ginger and cardamon and coriander to see how it tasted, but went back to the traditional cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice because I didn’t think the other worked, and I didn’t want to fool with it. So I stirred that back into the rest of the butter, and I can’t taste those spice undertones at all.
Wash and quarter pears, without peeling or coring. For a large dutch oven of pears, use a cup of cider vinegar and a cup of water, and cook until pears are tender. Put pears through a food mill or chinois sieve to separate pulp from peel and seeds.
Measure the pulp; for every cup of pulp, add 1/2 cup of sugar. I had 14 cups of pulp; I added a tablespoon of cinnamon, a teaspoon of allspice and a scant teaspoon of nutmeg. Then I added the other pulp which already had the sugar, as well as a teaspoon of ginger, and a half-teaspoon each of coriander and cardamon.
Cook until reduced and thick, and it doesn’t run when dripped onto a chilled plate. I simmered mine about four hours. Can as above.
A note on canning: I don’t process my jams and jellies, generally, because the combination of hot jar plus hot lid plus hot contents allows them to seal naturally as they cool. I don’t do it, also, because Mama didn’t. People will tell you you should process jams and jellies for 15 minutes or so in a water bath canner to be certain they’re sterile; it certainly won’t hurt anything if you do. They’ll unseal and then reseal during the process, which is fine.
So you ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em can get busy.