Pears in Port
Kerry was telling me how much she likes pears in port, so I thought that might be an interesting canning project.
I find peeling and coring takes the most time so I start that first. For pears and apples: peel, core and cut in halves or quarters. I store the finished pieces in lemon-water, but apples I pop in as soon as I’ve cut into it.
Start warming the jars, lids and rings. Then make a syrup as you would for preserving. Choose from light, medium or heavy, depending on your sweetness of tooth. You can use white, brown or raw sugar, or substitute up to ¾ cup with honey. Do not use sweetners, it doesn’t have the same properties as natural sugars.
- Light syrup: one cup sugar to three cups water.
- Medium syrup: one cup sugar to two cups water.
- Heavy syrup: one cup sugar to one cup water.
Dissolve sugar in water and simmer gently for five minutes. To make a liqueur syrup, use equal quantities of your choice of liqueur or spirits and sugar syrup. For pears, I used ruby port (the LCBO expert recommended Delaforce from Portugal for cooking; its only $13). Brandy would go nicely with apples or pears.
“Sweat” the fruit for 2-5 minutes in the syrup, then (using a slotted spoon), place fruit in clean pint size preserving jars. This ensures that no excess liquid will come out during processing. Pour in the hot syrup, leaving a ½” headspace. Wipe the rims, seal and process for 20 minutes in a boiling water bath. Wait 5 minutes and then remove to cool.
Note to self: After loosing a batch of apple-pear “pie in a jar” I will always sweat my fruit before packing! I suggest you do the same, especially if your fruit is from a friend or neighbour and of unknown variety.