Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Canning Pears

I did it! I canned pears for the first time!

I never grew up canning and to be honest never really appreciated it much until I met my future husband. As I would spend more time with his family, his mom (my now mother-in-law) would pull out these home-made bottles of fruit- (peaches, pears, applesauce, etc). Once I tried them, there was no going back to store bought canned fruit. So all these years (over 15) I have enjoyed and admired from a distance the art of canning my fruit. Well, to my delight I recently received a canner for my birthday (OK, a year ago on my birthday, but that is not that long ago right!?!). So I decided that I would take the plunge and try it.

Now that I have done them, I don't think pears is the easiest one to start with, but with determination and the energy to get these done I bottled 34 quart size jars of pears- by myself! I know- I am giving myself a pat on the back right now! (Of course to my oldest son this seems a trifle amount when divided by the number of weeks in the year. He told me, "Mom, that is only enough to have a bottle every other week or so..." I won't tell you what I told him... hahaha! Just kidding, I had already come to that conclusion, but I decided it was probably better to have it less often and love it, then have it all the time and make it common place. Right!?!

I got instructions from my mother-in-law, the pro, and also from the blog, Oopsey Daisy. But I found too that just getting your hands dirty (and I mean d-i-r-t-y) and just doing it the best teacher.

First, I ordered 2- 40# boxes of pears. Then I had to wait until they ripened. My MIL told me that they ripen in groups, so you will be canning a few days as they are ready. I looked for the pears to turn a yellow color and soften. (NOT mushy.)

On the first day, there were only enough for a few jars, so I washed them and sterilized the jars this way. The other 2 days I canned I had a lot more pears ready, so I sterilized them in my dishwasher with a sterile setting. I also started the water to boil in my canner because it takes a long time to get that going on my stove.

I got the new jar lids ready too.

Here is the part that takes a LONG time. I cut each pear in half, cored it with that white measuring spoon, and then peeled them. I found if I tried to peel first then the pear would kind of mush in my hands when I tried to core it. So that is the order I did it in.

In the water I sprinkled a generous about of this and put ice in the water too to make sure it was very cold. This kept the pears from turning brown.

After filling the jars with pears, sugar, and water, I sealed them up and put them in the canner for 40 minutes. I only ended up with 3 my first day. I think that was perfect for me, because I was just trying to figure it out.

Here they are, all done and then I got to listen for the glorious sound of the jars popping to let me know they are sealed!

Another thanks to my little helper! She is such a trooper and wants to do everything I am doing. It is fun!

What was the biggest lesson I learned? That I did not fully appreciate all the work my mother-in-law put into canning pears. I will forever have a greater respect for canned fruit.

Will I do this again? Absolutely! In a year I will forget how much work it is and probably even look forward to it. (Wow! Sounds a lot like pregnancy..doesn't it!?!)

Where am I going to store 34 jars of pears!?! In my walk in pantry, but as of now they are taking up a counter in my kitchen. I can't bear to put them away and I not be able to see all the work I have done. Yes, I have a canned pear shrine... is that weird!?! :)


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