Sunday, November 20, 2011

Can-Do Attitude: Pear Preserves

Preserves are different that sauces, butters, or jams.  Preserves contain large pieces of fruit, and when you remove preserves from the jar, they don't retain any shape (other than that of the fruit).  A jam and a jelly will hold its own shape on a spoon, but a preserve is thinner.  The fruit is mostly translucent (after being cooked), and it's in a sweet sauce, mostly from a simple syrup, or similar concoction.

For pear preserves, you'll need 3 cups of sugar, 3 cups of water, 5 peeled/cored/sliced pears, and 1 medium seeded and thinly sliced lemon.

To start, take your water and 1 and 1/2 cups of the sugar and boil it for 2 minutes in a large pot.  Then, add your pears (I peel, then use an apple corer to core and slice) and boil them gently for 15 minutes.

Then, add the rest of your sugar and lemon, and boil until the fruit is transparent.

Then, cover and let stand for 12 to 24 hours in a cool place.  Since it's fall, I just left mine on the kitchen counter.

Fast forward to the next day...

Take out the fruit from the syrup and place into your jars.  One batch will take 5 or 6 jars.  (Here, I doubled the recipe and made 11 jars.)

Since the fruit is not cold, but room temperature, you don't have to worry too much about the glass breaking.  Always be mindful about big temperature changes since you're apt to make a bigger mess than you anticipate.

Boil the remaining juice for about 10 minutes to thicken.  Remove from heat, and skim off any foam as necessary.  Then, ladle the hot juice into the jars.  To process, add to boiling water (covering the jars by at least 1" of water) and boil for 20 minutes.  Then, remove to cool and let set.  Always wait at least a day before serving.

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