— Ralph Waldo Emerson
The time it takes a pear to ripen can be anywhere from 5 to 10 days, depending on the variety. Eat it too soon and it will be hard and lack sweetness. Too late and it’s mushy. If you push with a thumb near the stem, a pear at proper ripeness will “give” just a little. The window between hard and mushy is just a few days and seems to sneak by in the blink of an eye.
Want to extend the simple pleasure of a well-ripened pear? It may not be quite the same as eating them fresh, but canning is a great way to capture pears at their peak to be enjoyed all year long.
Like many other fruits, preserving the color and texture of produce at its prime requires some attention. Dipping the fruit into a mild acid like lemon juice or vinegar as soon as it is peeled will prevent browning. Packing the fruit in light syrup adds a little sweetness, but, more important, those sugars will help the tender flesh retain its texture and flavor.
How to Can Pears
- 5 pounds ripe pears
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar or lemon juice
- 2 cups sugar
Peel, core and segment or chop pears and place in water-vinegar solution.
Combine 2 cups sugar and 6 cups water in a large pot; bring to a boil.
Transfer pears to pot and cook 4 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer pears into sterilized canning jars, leaving 1/2 inch head space.
Pour syrup into jars to cover pears.
Cap with lids and bands and process in a boiling water bath for 25 minutes.
Yield: 4 to 5 pints
Originally: How to Can Pears