Last weekend, just when I thought I was at the end of my canning marathon and could practically smell the scent of freedom, Handyman came in carrying a bag of pears.
A bag. A big bag. A disgusting amount of pears. (Note: "obscene" is the measurement for laundry baskets of something. "Disgusting" is the measurement for enough of anything to fill a trash bag.)
I took a deep breath, reminded myself to be very thankful for the bounty of pears, rolled up my dirty sleeves, and started making pear sauce.
To start, get a willing assistant, preferably one who doesn't pick her nose.
Cut each pear into halves or quarters, using a SHARP knife. Don't waste your time with blunt knives. I think I've expressed my opinion enough about knives, but let me state again - get a good knife, and keep it sharp. You only need one, so throw the rest of them away and save counter space and appendages. More cut fingers happen from using blunt knives than from any other cause.
Remove the seeds. You can easily do this by putting the knife at an angle to the pear and cutting out the middle.
You can also just cut each pear into halves and remove the seeds with a spoon. This is a bit messier, but faster, in my opinion. At this point in the canning season, you should just give up all hope of ever seeing your counter tops again, and give in to the truth that nothing exists but canning. Then get back to work, because the fruit flies are entertaining the idea of carrying off your children as hostages.
Put the pears in the biggest pot you've got, and add a little bit of water. Pears tend to be much more watery than apples, so just add enough water to keep the bottom of the pan from burning.
Cover, and boil for 30 minutes or so, until the pears are squishy. Squishy pears - yum.
At this point, if there's an excess amount of water, drain it off. Then put the pears in a food mill and mash the pear guts through the holes. Squishy pear guts - double yum. The food mill removes the skins from the pears.
Then, put the squished pear guts into clean quart jars, and then can them in a water bath for 25 minutes. (Click here if you need more information on water bath canning).
Remove the jars, and then, of course, add the cool labels. Sit back and feel all virtuous and smug. Then take a good look at your kitchen and run screaming for the hills.
(Note: Pear sauce does NOT need any sugar or sweeteners, so it's an excellent health food. It tastes fantastic on its own, but is a great replacement for syrup on waffles or as a spread on fresh bread.)
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