Archive for September 9th, 2010

Pears—Gift of the Gods

Though the pears pictured do not have a textur...

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After hot humid days with temperatures soaring over three digits, a cool front ushered in Labor Day Weekend. The welcomed coolness shifted thoughts from luscious green salads and fresh summer produce to fall fruits and cool-weather vegetables. Peaches bowed to the juicy sweet and grainy texture of pears, once called the “gift of the gods.” While pears may be available at different times, I think of those seasonal varieties from August through October.        

Over 3,000 varieties of pears exist worldwide. Better known varieties in the United States include Bartlett, Bosc, Comice, Concorde, D’Anjou, and Seckel, each with distinct flavors. Pears, cousins to apples and quince, are members of the rose family. They provide rich sources of fiber and good sources of Vitamin C.       

Kieffer pears, abundant in the south, lack the mellow sweetness of the Bartlett but are excellent for canning and preserves. It’s those pears that remind me of summer’s end. Nostalgic thoughts drift toward canning pear preserves to use in Christmas fruitcakes. Pear honey, a recipe from my husband’s family, is always a hit with hot biscuits or toast and great over plain yogurt. Although often altered from the original recipe, the quality of this heavenly concoction seems unaffected by slight changes in proportions and methods. 

With pears in season, try your own adaptation. Then, enjoy the fruits of your labor. 

 Pear Honey 

    8              cups finely chopped pears 

    5              cups granulated sugar 

    1              (20 ounce) #2 cans crushed pineapple in syrup 

Cook chopped pears and sugar in a large saucepan for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Add pineapple. Cook 15 minutes or until slightly thickened. Pour into hot sterilized canning jars and seal. Place jars into a deep saucepan or water-bath canner. Cover with hot water. Bring water to a boil and process for ten minutes. Carefully remove hot jars and allow them to cool before storing. 

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