Friday, August 27, 2010

Pear-y Good Preserves

So, do you remember this big bag of pears I found last week?? They were finally ready this week.  Grandma was kind enough to write down several recipes for using them--including the pear honey that Cindy had mentioned last week--and I was chomping at the bit to try them out.  Now, I know that you guys think I have totally lost my marbles to be excited about spending all that time in my kitchen--but I LOVE it!! And never to cease to amaze myself as to how excited a few little jars of some pretty sparkling colors can make me feel. 
Truly, this wasn't hard--and not all that time consuming, if you were only going to make one of the recipes.  I had alot of pears, and alot of energy and ended up making 2 different recipes for pear honey and a recipe for pear marmalade--just to be different.  I should remind you here that I HATE pears--totally-I will pick them out of anything, and I can't even eat pear cake without grossing out.  So I was pretty skeptical about these recipes--but I knew that my crew would eat them up, or I could give them away in our Christmas gift baskets.  I LOVED them--each recipe--they were very yummy. Jeremy said he could taste the pears, but they didn't bother me. Pears are in season right now around here so I included the recipes for anyone to enjoy.  My friend Terri emailed me about sharing the recipes--and I am always googling to find new recipes--so I hope these help someone out.  Terri--grandma also wrote out recipes for pear butter and pear preserves--if you want them, I will be glad to email you!!
The pear honey had the consistency of very fine applesauce and was a beautiful honey-color!
                                                                 Pear Honey
9 cups diced pears, peeled and cored (was about 12 pears or so)
1 cup crushed pineapple
1 lime, zested and juiced
5 cups sugar
Put the diced pears through a food processor or a food chopper, to create pulp the consistency of applesauce.  Combine the pears, pineapple and the zest and juice from one lime in a stock pot.  Add the sugar, mixing well.  Bring to a boil and cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Pour into hot jars and process in waterbath canner for 10 minutes.  Makes the equivalent of 9 8 oz (half-pint jars)
I put my jars in the microwave after rinsing them off and turned it on for a minute or two to warm them up--I don't know if this is "acceptable" in the perfect canner's world, but it has worked for me so far.
The next recipe is a second type of pear honey.  I never could decide which one I preferred, though my guys preferred the first recipe with the crushed pineapple.  This one has a whole lemon in it, rind and all, and I thought that gave it a cleaner, crisper citrus-y taste.  If anyone gets ambitious and tries any of these recipes, I would love to know what you thought.  My comment settings will email me anytime a comment is left when the post is older than a week--so I will be able to read old comments and I would love anyone's input!!
The water bath canner on the right is a smaller one that I recently purchased from Walmart for about $18--I have a much larger one that I bought at an auction once.  I am enjoying the small one--it heats faster.  I put this picture in though, because I also use the 12 quart stockpot on the left to can when I just have 6 or 7 small jars.  I throw a bunch of butter knives on the bottom to set the jars on, so they aren't touching the bottom of the pot.  Just saying--you don't need expensive or fancy equipment to can!!
Pear Honey Preserves
4 cups peeled and chopped pears
3 cups sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 ground lemon
I liked the consistency I got from the pears after they went through the food grinder, so I course chopped the 4 cups of pears and ran them through the food grinder, followed by the whole, washed lemon. Combine the ingredients and boil, stirring occasionally for about 15 minutes.  Pour into jars and process them in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.  Yields: five 8 oz jars
I make all different sizes, to suit different purposes.  I made a few pint jars for us, some tall, skinny 12 oz jars, lots of 1/2 pint jars and then some little 4 oz jars--which go great in gift baskets!

I am not much of  a marmalade lover--but this last recipe was just enough different from the others, that I thought it sounded interesting and HAD to try it with the final pears.  I absolutely adored the citrus-y sweet flavor it had--and just finished a couple pieces of toast slathered in it!! Don't let the lengthy instructions disuade you from trying it--it actually only took me about 1 1/2 hours--with lots of time to tinker around in the kitchen while waiting on stuff!

Pear Marmalade
2 oranges
9 cups diced pears, peeled and cored (I--actually Devin and Camille--sent mine through the kitchen aid food processor to get a pretty fine chop)
2 cups drained crushed pineapple (about 2 15 oz cans)
4 Tbsp lemon juice
Remove peel from the oranges. Add 1 qt of water to the peels and boil them for 5 minutes.  Drain water, discard, and add another quart of water to the peels. Boil it for 5 minutes (I already had the second batch of water hot in the microwave by the time the first batch was ready to drain). Drain and discard this water too.  Now grind the orange peel and orange through the food processor.  Add the pears and pineapple.  Add  half as much sugar as you have fruit mixture.  I had about 16 cups of fruit, so I added 8 cups of sugar.  Next add lemon juice.  Bring to a boil and cook until thick, around 40-60 minutes--you will know-the consistency will look like orange marmalade you buy in the store.  Don't forget to stir it some.  Pour into hot jars and water bath for 10 minutes.  Yield about 19 half pints
Just so you know, I am raising more Betty Crocker's to follow in my footsteps--she cooked yesterday afternoon in her Kitchen, right in the middle of my kitchen--She is presently adding vanilla to her ice cream that she is sauteing in the skillet!! Today I wasn't so lucky--both she and Devin thought they needed to help out by running the food processor-actually they did quite well!! Next week I will teach them to exercise off all these extra calories from homemade biscuits and lots of jam!!

And laugh as you may--I seem to collect extra produce like other people collect stray cats--I ended up with a bushel of apples in a feed sack on my back porch Tuesday--so NEXT week--homemade applesauce--hurry up winter, I'm running out of energy--and freezer space! Cheers!


  1. Wow! It all looks good. Love the tip on drying the jars. I'm not flush with pears but so nice of you to share your recipes. Your family is going to love having all these treats you've created.

  2. We had a huge pear tree at the house I grew up with and my mom always made pear honey and pear preserves -- brings back childhood memories -- thanks!!!

    They look really good!

  3. I loved reading and seeing about your "pear" projects! Thanks for sharing all this! :)

  4. I like being you friend. There is always so much good food! Dale

  5. Your pear honey sounds delish and a good way to use up preserves. Love your little girl cooking just like mama.

  6. Thanks Mel!!

    If I manage to get my hands on the pears that I thought I was getting my hands on, it will be pear honey time! I am actually getting really excited about this!


  7. Hi, it's Bonnie! you commented on my found me thru Window on the Prairie. I'm the one that is going to make pear butter and going to can for the first time. Thanks for letting me know about your blog and these recipes. These look great! you did an awesome job! I am definately making pear butter, but I can get more pears from my sister in laws tree and I think I will try one of your recipes too. You told me to not be nervous about canning...I think my biggest fears are the botulism thing. But I know they say that is a concern for vegetables and meat and you would have to use a pressure canner for those. anyhow, of course I'm doing fruit and i can use a water bath canner. Soooooo....can you ease my fears about this. Am I crazy? I think my problem is, I start reading all this stuff and then I think...omg, what if I mess up. Also, one question....when you made your pear recipes, were your pears fairly hard? I picked mine last Thurs and they have been left to ripen on my dining room table for 6 days now and they are still basically hard. I am assuming this is normal and I am going to proceed with my recipe. Thanks for your time! By the way, I looked around your blog and I love it. I will definately be back as a regular reader! We have the same interests!