The other day while I was at the grocery store, I saw pears were on sale for 77¢ a pound! Around here they are usually around $.149/lb. So I grabbed a few bags and stuffed them full of pears! It just happens that we had recently run out of our favorite 'jam'...pear preserves.
I was introduced to this wonderful stuff when I married my husband. My father-in-law likes to make pear preserves. It's a perfect blend of sweet fruit flavor and spicy cinnamon. It's absolutely amazing on my buttermilk biscuits.
So this past Friday, my husband and I worked on peeling, coring and slicing over 20 pounds of pears. We ended up with about 45 cups of pears, and about 15 cups of peelings, etc. (I'll tell you what I did with those later) When we were done cooking them down, we had a total of 7 quarts of pear preserves. We started with jelly jars, but ended up scrambling for all the jars we had available. :)
Here is the recipe for pear preserves...in a smaller batch. :)
15 cups pears, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
5 cups sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
1/8 teaspoon vanilla
Put the pears and sugar together in a large bowl. Stir until all the pears are coated in sugar. Now let them set for a couple hours. The sugar will draw some of the juice out of the pears and they will get syrupy. After a couple of hours, put the pears and syrup into a large stockpot. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for several hours, stirring occasionally. You want to cook them until the pears are translucent and alot of the liquid has boiled off, leaving a thick syrup. Spoon into sterilized canning jars and seal with sterilized lids. Process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes. Remove from the water and place in a non-drafty area for them to seal. Enjoy!
As for the peelings, I put them in a sauce pan with 2 cups water, and two cups sugar. I boiled this down for an hour or so, then strained out the peelings, and boiled the juice down some more to make syrup! Yummy!
Note: It is best to remove the cores/seeds before boiling the peels, as consuming too many of the seeds can be poisonous.
Find more canning and preserving recipes at Little Natural Cottage at http://www.littlenaturalcottage.com/?p=2155