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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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    « Pear Jelly Candies | Main | Pickled Seckel Pears »
    Wednesday
    Feb292012

    Canned Pear Halves

        Just like Grandma used to make. This is a medium-weight syrup: sweet but not too heavy. I always keep a jar of Canned Bartlett Pear Halves in the fridge, for dressing up a salad or going old school and serving it atop cottage cheese.

       When the pears have all been eaten, I like to drink the remaining ice-cold syrup, which is  infused with the delicate slighlty-floral essence of beautiful Barlett pears. Aaaaahhh.

    Makes ~6 pints  

    • 6 pounds Bartlett Pears (ripe or slightly green; not soft, mushy or bruised)
    • 3 quarts water (divided 2 cups + 1 cup)
    • 2 cups sugar
    • 1 lemon, for the juice

    Variation: Try tucking a 1" piece of cinnamon stick into each pint jar of pear halves before putting the lids on, or use 100% pineapple juice, white grape juice, or apple juice instead of sugar & water as your syrup solution!

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

    2.) Bring the water in the kettle to a boil while preparing the rest of the recipe.

    3.) Make a large bowl of acidified water by cutting the lemon in half and squeezing the juice into two quarts of water. As you prepare each pear half, you'll place it in this water to keep it from browning.

     

    4.) Prepare pears:

    1. Peel one pear, using a vegetable peeler. 
    2. Cut pear in half.
    3. Scoop the core out of each half using a melon baller.
    4. Trim the stem ends and discard them.
    5. Place pear half into bowl of lemon water. 
    6. Repeat with remaining pears, and set aside.

     

    5.) Prepare the syrup:

    1. Combine remaining quart of water and sugar in a large (5 or 6 quart) pot.
    2. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar.

    6.) Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pears from the lemon water to the boiling syrup. Bring to a boil again and cook pears in syrup for 2 minutes.

    7.) Using a canning funnel, pack pears into wide-mouth pint-size jars. 

    8.) When all jars are full, pour the remaining syrup over the pears to cover them, leaving 1/2" headspace in jars.

    9.) Wipe the rims of the jars clean with a slightly-damp paper towel.

    10.) Set lids on jars, and screw rings on finger-tight.

    11.) Place jars on rack in canning kettle or large stockpot, making sure jar tops are covered with at least 1" of hot water. Cover with a tight-fitting lid, bring to a boil and process in a Boiling Water Bath for 20 minutes. Turn off heat, remove lid and let jars rest for 5 minutes in the kettle.

    12.) Remove jars from kettle using jar-lifter tongs, and gently set aside to cool on a kitchen towel in a draft-free place. 

    13.) Let rest for 24 hours, then check for proper seal before storing.

    14.) If jars lids seal, store them in a cool, dark place for up to one year.

    Helpful tip: Check lids for a proper seal by pressing the middle of the lid with a finger or thumb. If the lid stays down, it is sealed and will easily keep for up to one year in a cool dark place. If the lid springs up when you release your finger, the lid is unsealed. Place unsealed jars in your refrigerator and eat within 3 months, or within one month after opening.

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