I love mincemeat. Especially in a pie. Especially in my mom’s pies. But usually she just uses the canned mincemeat. So when Alberta gave me a mincemeat recipe to use my pears in, I knew I was destined to make it. A lot of people get nervous when I mention “mincemeat” and are horrified when I tell them it’s my favorite kind of pie. It’s true that in the past mincemeat always contained some kind of ground meat, but nowadays you can find plenty of recipes that are just fruit and spices in a delicious combination.
My sister-in-law Danica and I ordered a 40 lb box of pears from The Pear Guy this year. The pears ripened very quickly and pretty soon we were forced to can them. BY OURSELVES. That’s right. We’ve both “helped” with canning before, but neither of us had
actually ever done it ALONE. So, we borrowed a boiling water canner, rack, and the retro Squeezo Strainer from my mom along with her well used “Home Canning” Cookbook, published in 1975. We then contacted my sister Alberta who referred us to Ball’s Canning and Preserving website and gave us some yummy recipes to try out. We chose three canning recipes we wanted to make with our pears. Autumn Cranberry Pear Jam, Peach/Pear Butter and regular pear quarters in syrup. The instructions for the pear quarters was in the Home Canning cookbook, along with other handy tips about canning. The website also has a step by step hot water bath canning tutorial that was most helpful.
The first thing we had to do was wash all the bottles and lid rings. We had some help with this part.
Then we decided the first thing we wanted to make was the Autumn Cranberry Pear Jam. We had been warned by Alberta that we should probably just tough it out and peel, core, and crush the pears by hand so the jam would have a chunkier texture, but we were feeling lazy and instead we just boiled the pears and ran them through the Squeezo Strainer! Not only was it quick and easy, but it was fun! It took me back to the autumn days of my youth when my mother would allow us to run the strainer for her when she was canning applesauce.
We decided that since we had to boil and strain pears for the pear butter
anyway, we might as well do it for the jam too. After straining the pears, we measured out the amount we would
need for the jam and mixed that recipe up in a pot on the stove, adding in the liquid pectin at the specified time and boiling it.
We immediately poured it into our warm jars, (that we kept warm in hot water in the sink) wiped the tops of the jars,
put the lids on, and processed the jars in the boiling water canner. We were amazed and delighted when all the jars “popped” and sealed after the water bath.
We then mixed up the pear butter recipe and started boiling that. We didn’t realize how long it takes for pear butter to “thicken” and I sat and stirred that boiling pear mixture until midnight before I decided it was thick enough for me and I bottled and processed it.
The next day I spent a couple of hours peeling and coring pears and since I had no way of keeping them from turning brown, I just peeled and cored as fast as I could and as soon as I had a bottle’s worth, I would fill a bottle, pour in the sugar-water syrup and put the lid on.
That seemed to keep them fresh until I was ready to process a batch. All in all, we got about 17 quarts from that 40 lb box. I have a few pears left and some apples and I really want to try this mincemeat recipe!
Thanks for sharing in our canning adventure! What do you like to can?