I was going to do this blog on Relishes, but I changed my mind when I saw our Pears had started falling. They were ripe and ready to be picked. So time was a wasting. Rellish next week, Pear Preserves and Jelly now. I promise that Relishes will be soon, so keep checking. Better still, why don’t you click on the tab to follow my blog. It will come to your e-mail box and you won’t have to worry about missing something. There are so many things coming, too many to even guess. So let’s get busy with Pears.
- Pears ripe and ready.
Thank goodness one of our neighbors also had a pear tree because the squirrels in my yard had just about cleaned us out. For some reason they had ignored his tree. I guess that my house is in the woods and his is not made the difference. Mary Lynn stopped and asked if we could pick the pears from his tree, he said it was OK. She promised to give him some of the preserves, jam, and jelly we would make from his fruit.
First order of business, picking the fruit. This is a slow process. Can’t beat hand picking for getting just the right pears. Always get some that are not quite ripe. They make the jelly set up better.
Mary Lynn picking pears.
Next after the fun job of picking, comes washing, and peeling, slicing, and all that other stuff that it takes to make homemade jams, jellies, preserves. You can buy these items in the store, but it just doesn’t have any of the flavor of real homemade. Not to mention, you never know what all the ingredients are on the label.
Wash the pears with a metal scrubbing cloth, not one with soap, but a plain one. This is needed to get the weather off the pears. Weather adds a black coating to the pears, scrub and you will get a prettier pear that will give you better looking jelly. You really don’t want unscrubbed pears to cook with. It takes a while to do, but the results are worth it.
Notice the black on the pears just after picking. In the bucket are pears ready to cook.
Next you need to decide if you are going to do manual peeling or use an Apple Peeler for a big part of the work. The taste is the same at the end, just the hand method, like my grandmother did takes forever, not to mention the cramps you get in your hands. Unless you really want to do the old-fashioned way, I would use the peeler. The peeler we used came from Big Lot’s and cost less than $15.00. You can also buy a peeler in the fancy stores and apple barns, they cost around $30.00. Which ever you buy is probably going to look like the cheap one from Big Lot’s. The $$ ones work the same way, not easier or faster.
The end results are the same just the time it takes to get the major difference. Time and labor make the peeler method a winner in my books.
After you get your slices for making preserves you need to weigh the fruit, you will use a 1/2 pound of cane sugar for each pound of fruit. You will also need 1 cup of water for each pound of fruit. In a heavy cooking pot bring the sugar and water to a boil, stirring to make sure all the sugar is dissolved. For each 10 lbs
fruit and 10 lbs sugar and 10 cups water add 1/2 cup lemon juice
. (You can squeeze lemons
til you get 1/2 cup. Don’t squeeze the little plastic lemon. I prefer to use fresh lemon juice from a plastic bottle. You will find fresh, no preservatives lemon juice in the frozen foods
section. look next to the frozen concentrate section. This is the best method for fresh lemon juice available. Just thaw and keep in the refrigerator til needed.) Bring your mixture to a boil slowly, then boil at a low boil. If your pears are still green cook them for 1.5 hours, yellow ripe pears cook for 1 hour. After the cooking time is up the pears should look translucent.
- This is the look you want after cooking.
Turn the heat off and put a snug lid on and let set until the next day. Open the pot and drain the fruit. Reserve the liquid.
While the pears are draining make a thick syrup using 6 cups sugar and 6 cups of your cooking liquid. Cook to a soft ball stage
(this is much easier if you use a candy thermometer, it has the temps and different stages listed.
The syrup will coat a metal spoon and drip very slowly. Make sure you use a large pot so that the syrup does not boil over, it is a MAJOR MESS to clean up. Watch it like a HAWK. Take my word for this, I have experienced both good and bad with this.
- Note the air space at top of jar.
When this has boiled 20-30 minutes put drained pear slices in clean dried jars.
Pack them well into jars, make sure to leave room for syrup to be added.
Carefully ladle the hot syrup of the pears. Next you will need a long plastic thing that looks like a clear tongue depresser to move the pears gently to make sure the air bubbles are out. This is very important.
The clear thing to check for bubbles is in the front jar. Also notice the funnel to make sure not to spill the syrup.
Check again after the jars set for a few minutes, you may be able to add more syrup. Be careful and don’t add above the 1/4 inch from top line. This is important for the sealing of your jars. Now you will need to sterilize your domes for the tops. Just put them in a small pan of boiling water. Take a damp paper towel and clean the tops and sides of your jars. This is so you have a good seal. Place the domes on and then the rings. Finger tighten and you are ready to water bath the jars. (If you tighten too much the air will not escape and your jars won’t seal, not tight enough and water will get in and ruin your jar.) Place your jars on a canning rack and water-bath in a boiling bath 20 minutes. Make sure the water level is at least 2 inches over the tops of the jars. Remove from heat and let set over night. Next morning check for unsealed jars, they must have new domes and be reboiled. Don’t throw away the left over juice that you cooked your pears in. It can be put in quart jars, processed for 20 minutes in a boiling water bath and saved til you want to make pears again. Or you can drink it. Taste it, it is good, especially with some club soda to give it fizzes.
I know it sounds like a lot of things to do, but they are all needed to get the best, most tasty preserves you have ever eaten.
Now for the peel and cores of the pears. In a large cooking pot cover with water and 1/2 cup lemon juice. Boil for about 1 hour at as low a boil as you can get. Stir occasionally. Remove from heat, cover and let set over night to cool. Strain this using unbleached muslin that has been washed and dried but no with fabric softener. This will give you beautiful clear liquid that we will use to make Pear jelly.
Use 7 cups juice to 9 cups cane sugar plus one box of pectin and 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Mix juice and pectin and bring to a boil, add sugar and bring back to a boil while stirring to make sure all the sugar is dissolved. Boil for one minute and remove from heat.
Let set a couple of minutes, then skim the top to remove any bubbles or anything else. Ladle into 8 ounce canning jars that have been washed and dried. Fill to within 1/4 inch of top. Clean rims with damp paper towel. Then place sterilized domes on top and add rings. Finger tighten and water bath in boiling bath for 10 minutes. Remove from bath and place in an area of your kitchen that will not get direct sunlight. Pear Jelly takes about a week to set up to a mostly firm jelly. If it still looks runny, let set a couple of more days. Check again. We have had many batches of Pear Jelly that had to be recooked, so don’t feel bad if yours needs it. It is a pain, but the jelly is worth the effort. Look how much work it took to get to make the jelly.
Well that about closes out Pear Preserves and Pear Jelly. But don’t think we are finished with pears. Pear Relish is coming soon.
I attended a family reunion this past weekend and it made me remember all those days in the past when making things like preserves and jelly was something that everyone did, not just a few. No one went to the store and bought jelly. Money was hard to come by and had to be spent on major items. They bought sugar and flour and corn meal. With those 3 things they made many different things to eat. The only type of jelly sandwich was one made from the fruit in your yard. Life was so very different from today. I enjoyed talking and listening to family members go on about this person and what they cooked or that person that made the best something else. Those memories are the things that drive me to write these blogs. I hope you enjoy reading and learning how to do things the “Old-Fashioned Way”.
In response to so many requests, Mary Lynn and I are starting back with our production and sales of a limited number of our most popular items. We are going to be selling thru a website that is in production now. Hopefully we will have everything ready to open for business in a couple of weeks. I will keep you posted on our progress. I already have my site name set and the coding goes on. If you have ever done that, you know how time-consuming it is. I tried and was lost, but thankfully I was saved by a very special person. So I will keep you posted, it should not be long. The name of the web site will be austinhouse.biz .
This will give you the chance to compare our products with the things you are making at home. Keep watching and reading.
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