Friday, August 19, 2011


To my great delight, I discovered one of the trees in my dad's yard is brimming over with pears. Since there was no pruning or spraying done, I really didn't expect much from any of his fruit trees. The apple trees produced little knotty things that I didn't even try to do anything with. But the other day while sitting on the patio talking to Cuz Jill, I looked out and beheld a tree dripping pears.

Since I've never done anything with pears, I hopped onto the internet and learned that pears should be picked green and allowed to ripen in a cool dark place to discourage the seediness (I forget the name) that you find in the center of the pears. The description of when to pick the pears says that they should break easily off the tree and also that whenever they start falling off, they're ready.

Okay. I feel the pears, and they feel like rocks, so I have my doubts. However, I harvested 4 sacks and sat them in the basement. After 4 days they hadn't changed much, but a few were beginning to have a little give when gripped. That was the point the internet said you should start canning them.

Lemme tell ya, peeling, pitting and slicing those babies didn't go quite as quickly as I'd dreamed about. They still feel pretty hard to me. My hope is that the canning process softens them up. I did a batch of 7 pint jars in a thin syrup, and they sure look pretty. I left one in the refrigerator overnight to check the next day. I just went and opened it, and by golly, it worked. There's a little bit more tooth than commercially canned pears, but not much, at least not in the pieces I tasted. Yay!

So now I guess I've got my work cut out for me. Aunt Agnes? You want some pears to can? You're welcome to them.

Because these are homegrown and unsprayed, they're not the largest pears in the world. Certainly not up to what you'd see in the grocery store. I figured about 4-5 pears per pint and added an extra jar's worth to make up for bad spots cut out and variable sizes. That came out just right for the 7 jars that fit in the water bath canner. That makes about 32-35 pears per batch. Now I just need to find a personal pear peeler to work for me for free, yeah.

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