Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Canned Pear Slices

Our pear trees are producing a fair amount of decent fruit this year.  I'm still trying to figure out all the varieties that we have.  We definitely have a couple bartlett trees, and I believe we have a green anjou,  a comice tree, and an asian pear tree.  We also have two trees that I believe are bosc.  And I'm trying to figure out if another tree is one of the old school pear varieties with apple-shaped pears.  The bosc trees are loaded with fruit.  The others, which all ripen earlier than the bosc, have produced a fair amount.  I didn't make as many changes in the orchard this year as I had hoped to, especially with the pear trees, so I was quite impressed with the fruit that they have produced.  Some are very pretty fruit - like the bartlett pear on one of my trees pictured at left - and some are not so pretty, but it still tastes great!  That's what's important.  :) 

I've done a small amount of canning with them.  I did a test run last week, with just 3 pints.  And I'll be doing some more this week (probably tonight).  And I'll be doing more once the bosc trees are ready.  This was the first time I've canned pears.  It was fairly simple.  The most time consuming part is peeling and slicing them.  I did some research before I started and discovered that when canning pears, you shouldn't let them ripen to the point of being good to eat.  You want them to be firm.  The best way to tell if they're ready to can is to press on the top of the neck, by the stem.  If it has a slight give, they're ready.  You don't want to wait for them to ripen all the way, or you'll end up with really mushy canned pears.  I also read that you'll get a much better texture/outcome if you raw pack them.  So that's what I did.  I used a very light syrup and just followed the instructions in my Ball canning book. 

Canned Pears

Very light syrup:
1/2 cup sugar or sucanat
4 cups water

Heat sugar and water until boiling. Let simmer while you prep your pears.
Meanwhile, wash, pare, core and slice pears. Pack fruit in hot jars. Pour hot syrup over pears, leaving about an inch of head space. Process pints in boiling water bath for 25 minutes.

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Ubermom said...

We have a pear tree with the best year it has had in all the years we have lived in this house. But, we still don't have any pears to can! The kids eat them as fast as they grow. Darn kids! Eating food, drinking milk. Humph! Oh well, they have plenty of good points, too. I stopped over from Real Food Weds.

juliecache said...

got here from simple lives thursday. we tend to eat our pears out of hand or turn them into fruit leather. My kids just don't eat them canned!

The Voogts said...

Thanks for the pears, Sara! I used most of them to make pearsauce (sadly all that work only amounted to 1 qt. and 1 pt.). I still have a few left that weren't ripe enough for the sauce. It's fun to taste the different varieties. I hope to can some pears this year too. I like the cold pack method as well. That's what I 've done in the past. I often wonder if you could keep the skins on like we do with peaches. It would make this so much easier! That's what I don't like about dealing with pears...peeling and slicing them all by hand. As of yet I haven't gotten my apple peeler to work on pears. Good tip about making sure they aren't too ripe when you can them.

Sara said...

Thanks for stopping by, Ubermom and juliecache! Trust me, we have eaten plenty fresh pears. A fresh, juicy pear is one of the best things about fall! I also did a small batch of pear fruit leather. But we like to enjoy pears throughout the year, as well. So its nice to have some slices canned and some pearsauce canned (another favorite!).

You're welcome, Mary! Glad you got some sauce from them. I'll have lots of bosc to share for more sauce if you want them. They don't ripen for a few more weeks yet, though. Maybe around Jonah's bday.

Pears will ripen and soften as they heat up in the canning process, so you don't want to let them be ripe enough to eat when you can them... else they'll continue to soften and be mush with a grainy texture. If you can them at the right point, the apple peeler works great. I did one pear when I did these 3 pints pictured and it worked perfectly. But I decided I wanted bigger slices in there, so went back to doing them by hand.

The Voogts said...

Oooh...I'd love more pears for sauce!! I think I'll get some from Wells this week to can in slices. I think I'm going to try doing it with the peels on. See how it goes. That would make it so much easier!