December 27, 2007

I give to thee...

The Favors.

Actually - they were suppose to be the favors -- my ingenious idea for incorporating a family recipe into a edible and delicious treat. However - one flaw in my plan.... accumulating enough supplies to make these wonderfully sweet pear preserves.

J's grandfather used to make pear preserves and we are still enjoying his last batch from 2001. Sadly when he passed...he didn't leave behind his secrets. Therefore - yours truly tried to replicated these pears and give them as favors. That is..until I realized that in order to make 200 4 oz jars ... will require some 60 lbs of pears. Where in the world will I get 60 lbs of pears in Georgia??

Surprisingly, a friend of ours grabbed appromately 40 lbs of country pears from her dad's farm in Mississippi just for this mission. Ladies and Gentleman...we are in business!

Until I made my first batch....and realized that it would not be enough for 200 favors. So instead - they are now going to be Christmas presents!

I want to first thank Mrs. R for all of her help in teaching the basics of canning and letting me borrow her equipment!

I used this recipe for the preserves:
4 lbs
pears (whole, halved or quartered)
4 cups water
4 cups sugar
2 lemons, (I didn't use the slices like they advised - simply the juice)
Canning Jars (I used 8oz and 4oz bought from both Big Lots and Ace's Hardware Store)

For Beginner Canners (like myself) - I will show a step by step. Directions courtesy of Mrs. R's tutorial :)

First an foremost - Take the lids off of the canning jars. Put the jars in the dishwasher and turn it on (you can or cannot put in detergent) and leave them in there until you are ready to pour in the preserves.

Place the lids in a saucepan and fill with water. When the preserves are close to being done - boil the water with the lid on and sterilize the lids.

Peel the pears, core, and cube them. (or have your wonderful fiance do it)
Using a scale - measure out 4 lbs of pears. Boil 2 cups water and 2 cups sugar for 15 minutes. Add the lemon juice to the pears (I remove the actual lemon before pouring into the pot) Pour the pears into the pot and cook for another 15 minutes then add the rest of the sugar (2c.) and water (2c.) This is the fun part. Waiting :) Stir and boil...but make sure the sugar doesn't burn. The sugar will carmelize and you will get a lovely auburn mixture.
When your pears look like the picture above and the syrup is thick - they are ready to pour in the jars. Carefully remove the jars from the dishwasher (using a mitt) and pour the mixture in the jar leaving a 1/4 inch from the top. Tap your jar on the counter in order to remove the bubbles and wipe the mouth extremely clean. Place first the seal and then the ring on the jar and twist shut (not too tight). I use a hot water method to seal my jars. Simply place the jars on the rack over boiling water (see below) and put the lid on top. When there is consistent steam coming from the lid - start your processing time (20 minutes). Remove jars from the steamer, place on the counter on a towel, and leave them be for 12-24 hours. You will hear a popping sound which signifies that the lid is sealed and your product is safe from spoilage! If it doesn't pop - remove the lid, clean the mouth really well, and try steaming again. *Let me warn you before you try and double this recipe that it will take longer than you can imagine. I started around 7 p.m. and they were not done until 3 a.m. Just a word of caution.

Last but not least -- decorate them and pass them out to all of your friends!
The tags were bought from Design des Troy and are super cute!

Hope everyone had a wonderful Holiday!


Dani said...

You have a lot of patience, little lady! Thanks for the wonderful preserves though... they're delicious.

janie said...

Tara-just catching up on how you're doing! What an undertaking-good description of the canning process. I did my first canning attempt (made chutney) back in the fall and now I'd love to try preserves. Hope all is going well for you.