Managing my enormous pear harvest—all 33 pears—was indeed difficult! (I know, weak argument.) As modest as that sounds, it presented a challenge for me while trying to work during one of my busiest seasons. Visions of week-long canning orgies were not to be. So, I did what I could over a seven day window.
I was pretty excited when I found a recipe from the UGA food preserving people that gave me permission—nay, recommended—that the pears macerate for 12-24 hours. I guess I took this to extremes and macerated them for 6 days. The resulting pears were very lemony, and I even had enough leftover juice to make a couple pints of jelly.
The excellent original recipe can be found in true-tested form at http://nchfp.uga.edu/how/can_07/pear_preserves.html.
My recipe below departs from this one in several ways, but follows standard guidelines for processing. It is an adaptation, not the original recommended recipe. Use at your own risk. (I did!) OK, legal disclaimer now accomplished, please enjoy this recipe.
- 5 cups sugar
- 3 cups water
- 12 medium (or 30 scrawny) cored, pared pears, cut in quarters (about 4 lbs)
- 2 thinly sliced lemons
- 2 packages of liquid pectin
Yield: About 10 half-pint jars
Procedure: Combine sugar and water. Heat for several minutes until sugar dissolves. Add pears and lemon and simmer for 30 minutes. Cover and let set 5-7 days in refrigerator. I prefer to let it set in a glass or enamelware pot. (I used my giant green Le Creuset.)
Sterilize your jars and keep them hot (in the oven at 250 is great). Heat fruit and syrup to boiling. With a slotted spoon, add fruit (with lemon slices)–no juice–into hot jars, leaving ½ inch headspace. Heat 6 cups of remaining syrup/juice to boiling and add liquid pectin. Return to boil for 1 minute. Pour hot syrup over fruit, leaving ¼- ½ inch headspace. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened clean paper towel; adjust two-piece metal canning lids. Process in a boiling water bath: 5 minutes for half pints at sea level. I’m at 2,300 ft, so I processed mine for 10 minutes.
(You will have leftover liquid. Put that into half pints to make jelly, and process it the same time.)