One of my favorite things about visiting the farm is spending time in the kitchen alongside my mother-in-law. She’s a terrific cook, wise with knowledge about how to make just about every southern recipe that exists. She also knows the traditional ways of doing things, the methods that are generally lost on my generation.
Last weekend, my mother-in-law taught me how to can pears. She’d received several bushels from a neighbor and was up to her elbow in peels and cores. Since I merely observed through my camera’s lens while she did all the work, I’m not sure I would be brave enough go through the process on my own (and my kitchen is probably way too small). In the event that you’re up for the challenge, here’s how you do it.
You’re going to need a lot of pears. About two dozen.
Wash, peel, core and slice them. And throw them in a big pot.
In a small pot, make a simple syrup of 1 cup sugar and 3 cups water. Boil until sugar dissolves.
Pour the sugar mixture into the pot of pears and bring to a boil. Be sure there is enough liquid to cover the pears. Cook the pears for about 4 minutes.
You’ll need several mason jars, a funnel and some lids with seals.
While the pears cook, put the canning jars upside down in water including the lids and rings, and heat so that they become sterile.
These magnets are handy for lifting the lids and rings out of the hot water.
When the pears are just becoming tender (before they begin to froth), pull the pot off the heat.
Ladle the pears up to the neck of each jar and spoon the juice over top so that the pears are covered.
Pull the lids out of the boiling water.
Press and screw onto the jars.
Place the jars in a large pot and fill with water so that the water covers the top of the jars. This pot has a rack inside to keep the jars from banging around.
Bring to a slight boil in order to ensure each jar is sealed. Then, use a pair of tongs to remove from the hot water.
And allow the jars to cool to room temperature before storing.
And that’s it.
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