This past week while I should've been getting myself and my kids more prepared for the first day of school this next Tuesday I was canning pears instead.
O.K. so my timing wasn't particularly great, but we needed more pears and they ripened a bit earlier than I had anticipated they would when I bought them. Sometimes you just don't have a choice as to when you are able to can your produce.
Here are a few tips about canning pears: (peaches are about the same)
You'll need about 2-3# of pears per quart jar. I always plan on 2# per quart and then the rest is just a bonus. I had bought 2 - 14# boxes of pears at $8.99/box (in 2002 I was paying $5.99/box) and canned 14 quarts. We would've had a couple more jars but we all had to eat a couple fresh ones.
Pears and peaches are canning items that may not necessarily be cost effective, but they are definitely QUALITY effective. Peaches, especially for our area, are expensive (like $25 for a 16# box). But the taste and quality are worth it to us. And I figure that the savings on other items makes it so we can compensate for this expense.
We prefer wide mouth jars as you can get stuff in and out of the jars easier than the regular mouth. I can actually get my hand into a wide mouth jar if I need to. The jars above are wide mouth ones.
Our family prefers a light syrup on our canned fruit. My friend Andrea and her family like heavy syrup. That is one nice thing about canning fruit for yourself--you can control what you are putting into your jars.
Making Sugar Syrups for Pears (or peaches)
Light: 1 c. sugar to 4 c. boiling water
Medium: 2. c. sugar to 4 c. boiling water
Heavy: 3 c. sugar to 4 c. boiling water
Processing Times (check your area for any altitude adjustments that would alter the processing time)
Hot Water Bath (hot packed) pints for 25 minutes and quarts for 30 minutes.
Pressure Can pints and quarts both for 10 minutes at 6# pressure.
Steam Canner pints for 20 minutes and quarts for 25 minutes.
All but 1 jar sealed. RATS!!! Oh well, I just had to eat fresh canned pears the next morning for breakfast. My favorite way to eat them is with a little bit of fresh squeezed orange juice mixed in too. Oh so lovely!
For complete step-by-step instructions on canning check out the Ball® Blue Book or Ball® Canning website for their tutorials.