Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Want some honey, honey?

So, my grandfather has a pear tree that always gives more than people can even use, including five, five gallon buckets to one great uncle. So this year, I decided to try my hand at something every generation before me has done for quite some time. I would can them, but of course, if you know me, I have to try something different. I researched some ideas (I didn't want to do pear preserves, since my dad makes it, and makes it really really well) and I came across something called Pear Honey. Now, you might know what this is or you might not. I personally fell into the might not category, but I was intrigued. I love honey on biscuits for breakfast (love a slice of tomato on a biscuit, too but thats another story), so I thought why not give this a try.

Here are the pears in all their glory. I'm not certain what type these are, but it doesn't matter too much when doing something like this. I had one Walmart sack full of these little beauties, which roughly translated into 8 cups of cored, chopped pears.
My other ingredients were:
1 cup of pineapple juice
4 cups of sugar (roughly)
pint or quart jars
rings and lids
large pot or canner

Now to get started I had to peel, core and slice up the pears. I tried putting them in boiling water and dunking them into ice water like you would a tomato or a peach to remove the skins, but it didn't work too well for me. So I just sliced them with a regular vegetable peeler.

And of course, since I have a garden, I saved the remains for my compost heap. I cut off all the bad spots and roughly chopped them, placing them in a bowl with lemon juice or vinegar and salt to keep them from browning. It doesn't matter if they brown, but they look a lot prettier if they don't.
Next, I made a syrup of pineapple juice and sugar, heating it on low until the sugar disolved. And like most everything I do, I provided a comical blunder to my attempt at canning. My daughter was talking to me while I was measuring out what was supposed to be one cup of pinapple juice, thinking after I poured it in the pot I would fix myself a glass to drink since I love pinapple juice. Later on, when the pear/syrup ratio wasn't matching up, I realiazed I had no cup of pineapple juice to drink and had instead poured a second cup of pineapple juice into the pot. Being one to make lemonade out of lemons I instead made a double batch of pear honey!
Here is a picture of what the pears looked like in the syrup before they cooked down.

This is a picture of what they looked like after they cooked down.

While the mixture was cooking, I had run the jars and rings I was to use through the dishwasher and they were still hot when the mixture had cooked down. I had another small sauce pot with the lids for the jars, which once I had brought them near a boil, I placed on the warmer eye on my stovetop to keep them warm. Inside another pot I had a spaghetti strainer with enough water to cover the jars heating up. By the time the mixture had cooked down in the first pot, everything else was ready.
I placed my hot jars on top of a towel covered counter, rings next to them ready for use. Next, I used my jar funnel (yes, they are worth the $1.87 @ walmart) to ladle in the pear honey into each jar. I made sure to leave head space in each jar, before placing the lid onto them. I tightened the rings until they were "finger tightened" and then placed the jars into my pot with the spaghetti strainer. I don't have a canner, so I had to improvise. Since I had read to keep some space between the eye, and the jars, I thought the spaghetti strainer to be the best idea.
I also don't have a jar tong, so I took a regular pair of tongs and wrapped those jar opener gripper things around each tong and used rubber bands to keep them on. This worked just fine for my needs.
Here is what the jars looked like before I placed the lids on and put them in the pot.

In the pot, they were covered with an inch of water above the lids, and heated for fifteen minutes. After the timer went off, I placed the hot jars on the towel I had used earlier and wiped off the excess water, leaving them to cool overnight. Almost immediately, the sound of popping filled my living room, the sound of pleasant accomplishment. I now have seven quarts and four pints to give as Christmas presents, costing me a total of about $1 a piece.


Ole Miss Mom said...

That sounds SOOOO good...and like it was pretty simple too!

And great gift ideas! You're way ahead of the game!

AngelGirl said...

ummmm YUMMMMYYYY!!! i will be expecting THAT for christmas!!! ;)

The Bush Family said...

WOW!! Great job!! It looks delicious!

Robbie, Jenn, Ellie, & Mary Claire said...

I am super-impressed! 'Pear honey' sounds like something you would find in a little boutique!

ATinkLife said...

the funny thing about it, in my opinion, that if you didn't know it had pears in it, you wouldn't be able to tell it wasn't real honey.

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