Pears-Preserving the Harvest

Did you know? There are over 5,000 varieties of pears.

Tips on Ripening Pears
To hurry the ripening process, keep pears at room temperature, each piece individually wrapped in paper, or enclosed in a paper bag ventilated with a few holes. Check them with some frequency. Grandma Barbara once said that pears ripen from the inside out. Looks can be deceiving so test the stem end for that slight "give" to tell you when the pear is ready.
Asian pears such as Hosui, should be kept cool, stored in the refrigerator and served chilled. This enhances their sweet juiciness and crisp, crunchy texture.

Freezing Pears
The most popular variety is Bartlett pears available the first two weeks in September in Utah. If they are to be transported or not processed immediately, pick while slightly green and allow them to ripen in a cool, dark place.

One bushel of pears weights about 50 pounds and will yield 16-25 quarts of pears. A pound of pears yields 2 cups of sliced pears.

Wash and peel pears, cut them in half or quarters and core. Place in water containing 1 teaspoon crystalline ascorbic acid to each pint of water or follow recommendations on commercial preparations that contain ascorbic acid OR use 2 tablespoons salt to 1 gallon of water to prevent discoloration (do not soak longer than 20 minutes). Rinse and drain.

Prepare pears as above. Make a 40% syrup by boiling 3 cups sugar and 4 cups water. Add pears and simmer 1-2 minutes; drain and cool. Cover with cooled syrup, leaving ½ inch headspace. Add 1/2 teaspoon ascorbic acid per quart to avoid discoloration (optional). Seal and freeze.

Drying Pears

Any summer or winter variety of pear is suitable for drying. Pears should be ripe. Wash and slice. Pre-treat with lemon/water or ascorbic acid solution if you like. Dry at 135 F until leathery and there is no moisture present. Makes a great, sweet snack. Store carefully in air tight bags or jars. Keep in a cool, dry place.

Pear Cranberry Jam

2 Cups Dried Pears
3 Cups Water
2 Cups Cranberries
3 1/2 Cups Sugar
1 Cup Thinly Sliced Fresh Apples

Remove cores from pears. Wash pears. Chop. Wash cranberries. Combine fruits, water, and sugar. Simmer, stirring frequently, until thick and clear. Pour into sterilized jars. Apply lids and process in a Boiling Water Bath for 5 minutes. Makes 5-6 pints.

Pear Syrup

5 pounds pears, peeled and cored
10 cups sugar
2 cups crushed pineapple
Stir all together and cook 20 minutes or until of spreading consistency. Mash with potato masher to desired consistency. Put in sterilized jars (leaving 1/2 inch headspace), add clean lids and rings. Process in a Boiling Water Bath for 5 minutes.

Pear Butter

6 c. pears, peeled and sliced (Bartletts recommended)
2 c. water
1 T. lemon juice
1-inch piece of fresh ginger root
1 T. honey or maple syrup (optional)
1/4 tsp. ground allspice
3 cinnamon sticks (optional)

Yield: 3 half-pints

Peel, slice and measure pears, place in water and lemon juice in non-aluminum saucepan. Bring pears, water and lemon juice to a boil and cook 5-10 minutes until pears are soft. Peel ginger root and mince finely in a food processor. Add pears and puree. Place pureed pear mixture back into saucepan and cook over low heat until it thickens, approximately 2 hours. Stir frequently to prevent burning. Remove from heat. Add allspice. Place a cinnamon stick in each hot, sterilized jar. Ladle in hot pear butter. Leave 1/4 inch head space. Seal with two-part caps. Process in Boiling Water Bath for 5 minutes.

Pear Jam

4 c. pears, washed, peeled, cored and finely chopped or ground (Bartletts recommended)
1/4 c. lemon juice
1 pkg. commercial powdered pectin
6 c. sugar

Measure prepared fruit and lemon juice into large saucepan. Measure sugar and set it aside. Add pectin to fruit and stir in thoroughly. Place fruit over high heat, stir constantly and bring to full rolling boil. Stir in sugar. Mix well. Return to full boil, stirring constantly. Boil for 4 minutes. Remove from heat and skim off foam. Fill hot jars, leave 1/4 inch
headspace. Cap with two-piece lids. Process in Boiling Water Bath for 15 minutes.

Pear Honey

9 cups pears
1 large can crushed pineapple
1 lime, peel and all, chopped in blender
Add:
5 cups sugar
Cook 20 minutes in an open kettle at a good rolling boil. Skim foam if necessary. Fill hot jars leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Adjust two-piece caps and seal. Process in Boiling Water Bath for 20 minutes.

Spiced Pears

3 1/2 pounds medium-ripe pears (14-16)
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cup white vinegar
1 cup water

Tie in a spice bag:
2 teaspoons whole ginger
2 tablespoons whole cloves
7 sticks cinnamon (3-inch pieces)

Wash, peel, and core pears. Place immediately in a solution of ½ teaspoon ascorbic acid and 2 quarts of water to prevent browning. Combine sugar, vinegar, and 1 cup water; bring to a boil. Add spices tied in cheesecloth bag. Boil 5 minutes. Drain pears and add to syrup. Simmer 5 minutes or until soft but still firm. Remove spice bag.
Pack pears into hot jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Fill jars to ½ inch of top with boiling hot syrup. Remove air bubbles. Wipe jar rims. Process 15 minutes in a Boiling Water Bath.

Gingered Pears

4 Pounds Pears
2 Lemons
4 Pounds Sugar
2 Ounces Ginger Root
1 Cup Water

Wash pears. Cut in small pieces. Wash lemons. Cut in thin slices. Combine pears, lemons, sugar and water. Cook slowly, stirring frequently, until mixture begins to thicken. Add ginger root which has been cut in small pieces. Simmer five minutes. Pour into sterilized jars. Leave 1/4 inch head space. Seal with two-part caps. Process in Boiling Water Bath for 5 minutes.


Old-Time Pear Mincemeat

7 lbs. ripe Bartlett pears
1 lemon
2 (1 lb.) pkgs. seedless raisins
6 3/4 c. sugar
1 c. vinegar
1 T. cloves
1 T. cinnamon
1 T. nutmeg
1 T. allspice
1 tsp. ginger

Core and quarter pears.

Cut lemon into quarters, removing seeds.

Put pears, lemon and raisins through food chopper.

Combine remaining ingredients in large kettle. Add chopped fruit mixture. Bring to a boil over medium heat; simmer 40 minutes.

Pack at once in hot pint jars. Adjust lids. Process in Boiling Water Bath (212F.) 25 minutes.

Makes 9 pints.