I guess I should count myself lucky that we have a good climate for pears and peaches. Currently we have two of each that produce fruit. The two pear trees I purchased from Arbor Day, and they were tiny little twigs when they arrived. One is a Kieffer, the other is a Bartlett. They are now full grown and incredibly productive, almost too productive. Both are great varieties for canning. Last year I when I canned them I did two variations, one I added cinnamon and ginger to, the other I added a bay leaf, lemon peel and pepper. This year I decided to step it up a notch and make some spirited pears.
I’ve been putting off canning them for a few weeks now but it finally came down either pulling out the canning pot or having to compost them soon. I half-heartedly tried to convince my husband we needed a fruit press so he could turn them into alcohol but he wasn’t buying it. It seems he still has enough work to finish from all the fruit I had him ferment last year. Instead I had to settle on adding alcohol to them as I canned. There were a couple of variations but I opted for Kahlua and a vanilla bean. I admit, this was due in part that I had a bottle of Kahlua in the cabinet that wasn’t being used and it avoided having the take a trip to the liquor store for a bottle of good brandy.
After sorting through what seemed like a couple of hundred pears, I had them broken down to two piles, one for canning and one for the cows. Even after canning 10 pints of spirited pears, I still have more left than I'd like. Tomorrow I’ll make a batch of pear butter for holiday gifts, and I’ll probably still have 10 pounds left. I did see an article for freezing pears and Christmas is coming soon. Maybe a nice fruit press would be an ideal gift. Having some pears on hand to thaw and ferment sounds like a perfect test run for a new press.
Spirited Vanilla Pears
Directions: Make a batch of light syrup. I use 5 1/2 cups water and 2 cups sugar for mine.
As you peel and cut the pears, treat them against browning with a solution of citric acid and water.
Heat the pears through in the syrup, about 15 minutes. To each jar add 1/2 tablespoon Kahlua and about a 1/2-inch piece vanilla bean.
Using a slotted spoon add pears to sterilized jars. Fill the jars with syrup leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Wipe the rims and seal the jars. Boil can for 20 minutes.