While canning apples recently I was counting down the final minutes for the water bath and saw on Facebook that someone in the neighborhood was giving away free pears from their tree only a couple blocks away. And to boot, the pears were already picked and bagged (three grocery bags full). I was the early bird at the scene, and I asked if I could take all three bags. The man said, "Sure! We will be giving away more!" About half ripened and have been made into a purée and frozen. I did this last year with some foraged pears and it made for some great smoothies. I have 2 quarts. And this batch needed no sweetening at all.
Last weekend, after picking elderberries with Intimidating Minnow, I visited my friend Dawn who lives out by the lake. We took a bag of elderberries to her, and she let us pick pears and apples from her property. Half of these pears ripened and I canned them with apple juice and cinnamon. The quality of these pears were excellent! These are one of the more costly things I have canned so far (ha ha) with about $.50 worth of cinnamon (I bought a bunch of spices this past spring at the grocery store for 50% off) and $1.00 of apple juice. I've not had to buy jars, yet, as I'm still reusing old jars and collecting them from family and friends. I did have to put new lids on of course. But anyway... extravagant! ;) I'll be eating organic, spiced pears for about 30 cents a pint.
- Wash, core, and chop pears into chunks...nothing tiny, don't go crazy. You can leave the skins on your chunks.
- Simmer with a small amount of water...for 7 pounds start with a half cup. Then stir consistently.
- Once pears are tender, remove from heat and let sit for 20 minutes or so.
- Run all the liquids and pieces through a food mill.
- Return purée to the stove and simmer until reduced to the thickness you like. Sweeten if needed.
- Just follow this simple recipe from Ball. (6 pounds of pears gave me 6 well-packed pints.)
Image credit: Cale Ruiz