Sep 10, 2012

A Glutton for Punishment... and for Pear Sauce

I am the kind of person that requires a lot of sleep.  By a lot of sleep, I mean about nine hours per night.  I've always been that way.  I came across my baby book the other day, and it had facts from birth to five years, and I believe that at age five, I was sleeping from 8PM to 9AM.  Wouldn't you love a kid that would sleep for thirteen hours?!

Although I rarely get nine hours of sleep per night, I do realize that I need quite a bit and try to get to bed at a decent time.  My problem is that I don't sleep well when I am in the middle of a project.  And in case you hadn't noticed, we do a lot of projects around here.  Many times, I'm able to finish a project in a day, but on those rare occasions when we pick four bushels of pears and five bushels of apples that need to be canned before they rot, it just doesn't happen.

The pears were ripe when we got them, and I've been canning like a madwoman so I can sleep at night, knowing that the fruit flies aren't eating them up.  This was my first time to ever can fruit, and I have to say that it was fun and absolutely worth it.  I didn't want to make 15 quarts of the same thing and then have us get sick of it, so I looked all over for some different recipes.  I found some basic recipes online and then tweaked them quite a bit for our tastes.  I ended up making Holiday Pear Jam, Vanilla Berry Pear Sauce, and Spiced Pear Sauce.  The pears are so sweet that I was able to make the pear sauces without any sugar, so they are healthy, too!  It is very easy to make, and you don't have to can it if you don't want to go to the extra effort.  It can be frozen, or you can just eat it fresh.

Basic Pear Sauce
5 lbs pears
1 C water
2 t lemon juice

Wash and chop your pears.  If you are using a food mill, chop your pears in half (or in quarters if they are large).  If you don't have a way to remove the seeds after cooking the pears, chop the sides of the pear off around the core.  You don't have to remove the seeds (they aren't toxic enough to kill you), but it may disrupt the texture of your sauce.

Put them in a large stock pot with 1 C water, and bring to a boil.

Lower the heat and allow them to simmer until soft throughout, about 30 minutes.  Stir often.
Puree them in a food processor or food mill.

Place your pear puree back in the pot, add the lemon juice, and bring back to a boil, stirring often.
Cook the sauce down to your desired consistency.

To can, fill sterilized jars.  Leave 1 inch head space for quarts and 1/2 inch for pints.  Wipe the rims clean, and top with prepared lids and rings.  Process in a boiling water bath (quarts-25 minutes, pints-20 minutes).  Turn the heat off, remove the lid, and allow jars to sit for five minutes.  Remove them from the canner, and place them on a towel or cooling rack.  Leave them undisturbed for 24 hours, and then check to be sure each jar sealed properly.  Any jars that did not seal should be refrigerated and eaten within two weeks.

For the Spiced Pear Sauce, I added 1/2 teaspoon each of cardamom, nutmeg, and ginger.

For the Vanilla Berry Pear Sauce, I cooked 2 cups of black raspberries with the pears and then added 1 tablespoon of vanilla as I thickened the sauce.

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