From the looks of my blog stats many of you are making Pear Preserves. I don’t want to interrupt this. But there is other things you can do with your pear harvest. Have you ever tasted Pear Relish? It is delicious and can be used on many things. Not to mention it is very attractive looking relish on the table. With multiple ways to use, it might just be a good thing to give a try. And most of all, I relish the idea of talking about relish!
I use the hard pears in my recipe. What you didn’t know there was hard pears? The “old-fashioned” pears that grow in many yards around the South and maybe in other areas. I haven’t lived anywhere else but the South so I don’t know about other areas. If you have more information on hard pears in other parts of the country please let me know so I will be more informed in future blogs. The big difference in pears from your grocery store and from the trees in your yard are pretty obvious. The store pears are one variety and the hard pears another. Hard pears never look like store pears, they have a dirty look.As you can see there is a pretty big difference, in tastes as well as eating texture. The name Hard Pears is the best way to describe the pear. It is very, very hard, when you try to eat it, you have to wash very hard to get some of the brown off the skin. I quite doing this as it wasted my pear and time. I found that taking a knife and cutting pieces from the pear to eat is the best way. Yes, I know you have seen your Grandfather sitting and doing an apple that way. You can eat the pear without cutting chunks or pieces, but you also might break a tooth, so be careful. I like to eat my hard pears in a relish or as sauce, like apple sauce. What you have never hard Pear Sauce. Well I will give the recipe on how to make it later in the blog, but now the recipe is going to be pear relish.
PEAR RELISH: This is best made with hard pears, soft pears don’t hold up to the cooking. Soft pears are best for Pear Sauce, something I will cover. 14 cups hard pears, peeled, cored, chopped. 3 cups bell peppers, green – chopped small. 3 cups bell peppers, red – chopped small. 4 tablespoons sugar. 1 tablespoon pickling spice. 1 tablespoon kosher salt, or canning salt. 5 cups cider vinegar. 1 tablespoon turmeric. Combine all ingredients in a medium to large pot. Bring mixture slowly to boil while stirring to keep from sticking. Cook 30 minutes, then hot pack into 8 ounce canning jars leaving 1/2 inch of air space at top. This is between your relish and the rim. This means put into canning jars while mixture is hot. Makes sense doesn’t it? Clean rims of canning jars with paper towels. Place sterilized dome on top, then add ring. Finger tighten the ring, this means just tight. Too tight and the air in the jars will not escape or too loose and the water in the pot will leak into your jars and spoil your hard work.
Doing this will be a lot easier with the proper utensils and equipment. Real canning jars are an absolute must, no jelly jars or mayonnaise jars are to be used. They will exploded in the boiling water bath!!! Next is a funnel a canning funnel is set for the size of the canning jar. Next is a knife to put into jars before you seal them to get the extra air out. And last, but not least you need a real jar grabber that is also for the size of real canning jars. After all this place your jars Process 20 minutes in boiling water bath. Make sure to have 2 inches of water over the top of your tallest jar. Boil for 15 minutes. Remove jars carefully and place on top of a couple of dish towels to cool. If you have a cooling rack so much the better, but if you don’t use the towels it works. After the jars have cooled overnight, yes I said overnight, check to see if they are all sealed, this means that the dome on top is sunk into the jar. If not, start over with a new dome. Re-clean the rim and place the new dome on top. You can use the same rim. Finger tighten and re-process in boiling pot. Or you can put it in the fridge and eat it first. This is the method I like best.
It is easy with the right equipment again. You might think that it is going to send you to the poor house for all the equipment to do the right job. If you shop smart and buy the things you need in the discount stores. Canning pots can be found in the hardware stores, but we bought ours at Dollar General and save some money. Buy thing like the funnel and grabbers in the hardware store, I am not talking about the Mega-Hardware stores. I am talking about the regular small hardware stores. But these items can also be found in Wall-Mart at a savings of more dollars. So shop around and save money.
You might get tired of me preaching about what jars to use and how to clean the seal then boil the jars. I do this because it is the ONLY way to get a successful canning session. You have taken the time to prepare everything, why not take that same care in canning. You might hear other ways, believe me we tried every way we heard about, but the old way is the way that works every time! OK, I am getting down from the fruit box and no more preaching, just recipes and ideas about use of products.
Hot Pear Relish : This is easy, just use some of the hotter peppers in the Pear Relish recipe above. Bell peppers are still needed, just use 1 cup and the next 2 cups hot peppers. I like to use different hot peppers, sometimes I will use hot banana peppers and the next time I will use Jalapeno peppers. Some times I use both. It is all up to you. You know what your family likes, remember you can always add more later you can’t take them out. One other thing to watch out for, if you load to many hot peppers to your relish that you are going to can, the relish gets hotter over time. One more like thing, use red and green jalapeño peppers to give your relish a better color.
Next is another fall favorite using two of every bodies favorite fruits;
This might seem like over simplification but use the same recipe as pear relish only use half apples and half pears.
Cut your fruit in the same method as seen in the photo to the right. Of course the photo shows peel fruit, do no peel your apples or pears. Just wash and dry to make sure that you don’t get any dirt or other unwanted stuff in your relish. Don’t worry if they are not all the same size. Just don’t make any too small or too large. Medium size is perfect. You will find that working in small batches is better than a whole apple or pear. Core and slice into workable size.
To make a really attractive relish use two different color apples, one green and the other red. The chart will give you an idea of apples and their color when ripe. It is not complete, as many other types are out there. Green apples are usually Granny Smith, a hard juicy apple used in most recipes. For a Red apple you might have to search a bit. I find it easier to ask the produce manager for help. I like a Fiji Braeburn, Courtland or Jonathan apples. You might have a local favorite, so use that one, the key is it is hard and will not dissolve when cooked. If you leave the peel on the apples, this adds color to your relish. Just make sure the apples are just tender to touch.
Now how about a fun thing to make Apple or Pear Sauce. Wash and clean 10-12 cups of apples. Cut your peeled and cored fruit. Place in a medium size pot add 3/4 cup water, or if you like add fresh apple juice from your produce section of your grocers. Cook, while stirring til apples are pretty much a mush text. Carefully place about 1/2 full blender, purée the sauce till smooth.
If you would like chunky Apple Sauce, remove about 1/3 of the apples when they are still firm, but cooked. Add to the sauce from the blender, mix, you have apple sauce. If you like sweeter sauce add honey or sugar to taste. Don’t over sweeten, you can add more later but it is hard to take it out. Another idea, if your family like cinnamon or nutmeg add to the boiling pot and cook with sauce. If you like divide the sauce in half and add spices to one and leave the other plain. This gives you many different flavors, remember some kids don’t like spices, so you have so for them.
For another variety do the type with chunks.Here is photo of Pear Sauce with Chunks, apples look very similar.
So how making something that you control the spice, sugar and anything else you might put in. For a little fun why not add some natural food coloring to make something a little different. What ever you child’s favorite color, make Apple or Pear Sauce that color. They will have fun while eating something that is really good for them. Not to mention easy to make. If they are old enough, let them help you make it. Let them pick out what to sweeten with, if they like honey then use honey. When I talk about using honey, I am talking about unprocessed honey. The kinds that you get at a farmers market or health food store. Use honey the is filtered and jarred by someone in your area that keeps bees. The cost is probably less than what you pay for the little animal in the store filled with honey that has been put thru a factory. Local honey is better to use because it is made from bees that use local flowers for their pollen. This type of honey is said to be good for allergies. Eating this honey will help in the sneezing you get when things are in bloom, according to many statements.
It seems that just when I get going it is time to stop. Well if you like this blog and would like more ideas about making thing you buy in the store, let me know and I will do a whole blog about these type of items.
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