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Sunday, September 4, 2011

Pear Preserves

Canning has become my "thing." I like canning,preserving and the art of all things mason jars A LOT. It's been neat to watch people's reaction to my new hobby and my love for it.(I'll digress on that later.) I have also enjoyed some of the "perks" of canning and really when the word got out about my new-found skill...well let's just say I have been blessed.

Big time.

  My father-in-law's first cousin,Nell. Nell makes my day all the time. Last year ( I don't remember exacttly when,sometime late summer) I received a donation of sorts to my canning adventure. Nell's family did some canning and preserving in their time and they had some jars. Oh did they have jars. Nell gave me some of those jars and whether she just wanted to do some cleaning out or donation to a worthy canning cause,kid in a candy store doesn't begin to describe my excitement level.  I mean really....

   Another fun story...last July a co-worker made my day. Tammy asked me if I wanted some pears. She told me she had a pear tree in her backyard and she had pears to spare. Well yes mam I will take your donation,don't you worry none they will be the most loved pears EVER! I didn't know they would be the heaviest pears ever and really let's be honest the prettiest pears ever.Pears are pretty.

   I got to work that day and she mentioned she brought the pears. They were in the back of her truck and they were heavy. At lunch that day,I took them home to show the husband. Bless his heart his initial reaction to these sorts of situations usually goes a little like this:

 "What are you gonna do with all of this ________________?"

           You fill in the blank.
   Go on I'll give you time and really he doesn't even say some dirty word ( I know that's what you were thinking).Really I think he names said items just so it is made perfectly clear that I have a interesting/mounting task ahead of me...clever husband. Well pal I had a few recipes in mind for those gorgeous pears,pear preserves anyone?

    I have stated many times and will proclaim it from the mountain tops a million more that my husband is so dang patient.He also has a fine work ethic. I decided that I... I mean we had to act quick with those pears because there we 75 million of them and I'm a weekend canner. Weeknight preserving is not my thing.I'll explain:
1. Last year I did all my water bath processing on the stove top. It took a million years for that water to heat up.On the weeknights I don't have a million years.
(This year I have moved on to  fish cooker.And propane is ok by me..)
2.Go big or go home. Sadly this tends to be my motto when it comes to canning and preserving...well really most any hobby I take on.When it comes to food,namely canning and preserving this motto can get me in trouble.I will tackle 2-3 canning recipes on a Saturday. Start to finish the simple 2-3 recipes can take all day,hence I want to be sane when I finish all of that canned goodness the weekend just works out better for my schedule.
3. On the weekend I have a kind,sweet,patient and sometimes sassy,don't let all of this saintly husband stuff fool you around to help me with my canning adventures.He's there,he helps and reaps the rewards of fresh summer salsa in the middle of February.Enough said.

    So back to the pears,we divided the work load in half and went at those pears with a vengance. He peeled 25 pears and I peeled 25 pears.I found two recipes that I wanted to make,one I will tell you about now and the other one in a few weeks or so. Pears are in season in my neck of the woods for a while so hooray for me! Pear preserves are simple goodness. The search for a simple pear preserve recipe is not hard,Ball has done a fine job in that department. Pears are in season and you should make some pear preserves very soon .And if you need help peeling those pears,weeellll I guess I could help.

Pear Preserves
adapted from Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving
pears donated by my friend Tammy
(bless her generous soul and her "Arlington" pears)
4 cups finely chopped cored peeled fully ripe pears
2 TBL lemon juice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg,optional
1 package regular powdered pectin
5 cups granulated sugar
1.Prepare canner,jars and lids.
2.In a large,deep stainless steel saucepan,combine pears,lemon juice,cinnamon,nutmeg ( if using). Whisk in powdered pectin until dissolved.Bring to a boil over high heat,stirring constantly.Add sugar all at once and return to a full,rolling boil,stirring constantly.Boil hard,stirring constantly,for 1 minute.Remove from the heat and skim off foam.
3.Ladle hot jam into hot jars,leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace if needed,by adding jam.Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Screw band down until resistance is met,then increase to finger-tip tight.
4.Place jars in canner,ensuring they are completely covered with water.Bring to a boil and process for 10 minutes.Remove canner lid,wait 5 more minutes. Then remove jars,cool for at least 8 hours and store in a cool,dry place.

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