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  • FoodSaver V3240 Vertical Vacuum Sealer, White
    FoodSaver V3240 Vertical Vacuum Sealer, White
    FoodSaver
    I just started using a FoodSaver vacuum sealer to seal foods and I can't believe I waited so long to get one. (Check out my first project: Sweet & Sour Green Bean Freezer Pickles!)
    For example: In the past I would take the time to pick beautiful berries, then would bring them home and stick them in a zippered baggie in the freezer. My berries would have ice crystals and taste freezer burnt after just a few short months. 
    Then I had a light-bulb moment: "Air is the enemy" of freshness. 
    When vacuum-sealed my berries last 3 to 4 times longer! I have similar results with other fruits, veggies and even meats & cheeses.
    The FoodSaver has been a fantastic discovery. ~ Brook
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    • Mehu-Liisa 10 Liter Stainless Steel Steam Juicer - Made in Finland
      Mehu-Liisa 10 Liter Stainless Steel Steam Juicer - Made in Finland
      Mehu-Liisa Products

      Some day I will replace my ancient graniteware Steam Juice Extractor with this gorgeous Mehu-Liisa brand Steam Juicer. My old Steam Juicer leaks steam, meaning I have to refill the water often, and it doesn't have anywhere close to the capacity of this one from Mehu-Liisa.
      If you want to experience the magic of a Steam Juicer, check out this 10 quart Mehu-Liisa. It will last you a lifetime and save you countless hours in the kitchen, whether your juicing fruit for  Plum Jelly or Apricot Nectar, not to mention it minimizes the mess of juicing large amounts of veggies!  ~ Brook

    • Ball Quilted Jelly Canning Jar 4 Oz (Pack of 12)
      Ball Quilted Jelly Canning Jar 4 Oz (Pack of 12)
      Ball
      What's the one jar size I always keep a couple extra cases of? 
      The Ball 4 ounce jar.
      It's basically 1/2 cup, and just the right size for gift-giving and for experimenting with small batches. Perfect for things like my famous Pear Honey.
      People can't help but say "That is so darn cute!" when they seem them. 
      ~ Brook

    • Presto 01781 23-Quart Pressure Canner and Cooker
      Presto 01781 23-Quart Pressure Canner and Cooker
      Presto
      Looking for an affordable, easy-to-use pressure canner, backed up by great customer service? Look no further than the Presto 23 quart Pressure Canner/Cooker. It's the one I recommend to all my students. ~ Brook

     

    Dilly Pickled Onion Slices on Punk Domestics

    • Splash-Proof Super-Fast Thermapen (Orange) Instant Read Thermometer, Perfect for Barbecue, Home and Professional Cooking
      Splash-Proof Super-Fast Thermapen (Orange) Instant Read Thermometer, Perfect for Barbecue, Home and Professional Cooking
      ThermoWorks
      Do you have a great instant-read thermometer, or are you still buying the 20 dollar ones that only last a year or two? This was one of my best kitchen purchases.
      Can't imagine cooking jam (or meat or candy) without it! 
      Take your jams to 220º and you'll have a perfect gel set every time. Also available in other colors, but why wouldn't you want orange? It's only the BEST COLOR EVER. ~ Brook

     

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    • The Home Preserving Bible (Living Free Guides)
      The Home Preserving Bible (Living Free Guides)
      by Carole Cancler
      If you're looking for a book that covers every preserving topic imaginable, this is the book for you. It doesn't have a flashy cover or glossy pictures, but it's full of great info. One of my very favorite resources. ~ Brook

    • OXO Good Grips Corn Stripper
      OXO Good Grips Corn Stripper
      OXO

      Last August my friend Kelli asked me if I wanted some fresh corn from her grandpa's garden. I said "Sure....I'd love to make a few jars of Sweet Corn Relish!"
      She showed up 6 hours later with 158 ears. Wasn't sure if I loved her or hated her for it.
      After a long hot day spent cutting kernels off all those cobs with a small paring knife, I decided I'd never be without a Corn Stripper again. ~ Brook

     

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    I have attempted to share safe preserving methods however you alone are responsible for your health & safety in your own kitchen or location. Be aware of current safety recommendations. Please see "Full Disclaimer" page for suggested preserving resources.

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    Tuesday
    Jan112011

    Cinnamon-y Pear Sauce

    This recipe is, like many of my preserving recipes, is pretty simple to make. Please feel free to use whatever type of pear you like (or a mixture of pears.) You could also make this with cooking apples. The cinnamon can be increased or left out. The sugar can be reduced or increased. Taste it as you go along, and let your palate be your guide.

    Just don't reduce the lemon juice; you need the acidity of the lemons because it acts as a preservative.

    Bonus: Your house will smell incredible while this mixture of pears, sugar and cinnamon is simmering away on your stove!

    Makes ~ 3 pints

    • 7 large pears, peeled, quartered & cored* (~ 5 pounds) 
    • 1 juicy lemon, zested and juiced (You need 3 Tablespoons of juice.)
    • 3/4 cup water
    • 1/4 - 3/4 cup white sugar
    • 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

    1.) Prepare the canning jars and keep hot until ready to use; prepare lids according to the manufacturer's instructions. 

    2.) *Combine water and lemon juice & lemon zest in a large, heavy-bottomed, non-reactive pan and drop the pears into them as you cut them up to prevent browning.

    3.) Heat the pears and water/lemon mixture to a strong simmer and cook for about 10 minutes, or until the pears become tender. At this point, gently smash the pear quarters with a potato masher.

    4.) Simmer for 10 more minutes, then break out the immersion blender. (If you don't have one, get one! You will use it for pureeing soups, gravies, sauces, fruit butters and preserves, and wonder how you lived this long without one.)

    Note: If you don't have animmersion blender (aka "hand blender") you can let the mixture cool a little bit, and run it through a food mill, or let it cool to room temperature and puree it in a food processor.

    5.) When the mixture is smooth, continue to simmer, adding 1/4 cup of sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon of good quality ground cinnamon. (You can leave the cinnamon out too...it will still be delicious.) As the mixture cooks, it will reduce, and the natural sweetness of your pears will really shine.

    6.) You might not need any more sugar or cinnamon; it's all a matter of taste. I have made this with no sugar, or as much as 3/4 cup of sugar. It all depends on the pears used, so just taste it as it cooks and adjust accordingly.

    7.) Simmer until it's reached your preferred thickness, stirring often to keep the sauce from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

    6.) Ladle jam into clean hot jars, leaving 1/4" headspace.

    7.) Using a chopstick or plastic knife, pop any air bubbles you might see in the Monkey Butter.

    8.) Wipe rims spotlessly clean and place a sealing lid on top the jar. Next, screw a band onto the jar until it's "finger-tight".

    9.) Process jars in a Boiling Water Bath for 10 minutes (half pints) and 15 minutes (pints).

    > If jars lid seals it will easily keep for one year in a cool, dark place. If jar doesn't seal, place it in your refrigerator and eat within 3 months, or within one month of opening.

    If you'd rather not seal the jars, just place the finished Pear Sauce in a container with a tight-fitting lidding, and store in the refrigerator for a month, or in the freezer for 6 months. Remember, if freezing, to leave an inch or so for expansion.

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