I received a call on a Sunday that I needed to come get 15lbs or so of free small Italian firelli pears..they were ripe and ready.I asked them to put em in a cool place and i would do my best to try and get ride to come and collect them. Luckily Thursday I was helping my friend who was getting married the following Sunday. So in between errands we stopped and picked up the pears.
Of course now the issue was when would I have time to process them! I was working a 12 hr day Friday and Saturday was full of wedding prep and errands and of course now i had family visiting in the evening as well. But it must be done as we don’t want to lose the pears.
Friday night after making dinner, I started the sticky task of peeling, coring and slicing 13lbs of little pears. They were ripe and sweet and the fragrance was intoxicating. I was making Pear Honey. There are plenty of recipes but this one is a heritage one and it is just pears, sugar, vinegar and cinnamon. Those 4 ingredients transform into a honey like concoction that is heavenly. It is similar to honey is color and texture but the flavor is unique. Its a a sweet amber syrup with fruity floral undertones and a nearly undetectable tart finish. Peppered with chunks of pear that have the chewy consistency of crystallized ginger, it is highly addictive. Great to use on any baked good, in oatmeal, homemade yogurt or to accompany a cheese plate. I have friends who use it as a component for cocktails as well.
This was the one requested item, everyone asked if I was making this year. So I decided to use all the pears for it. The pear slices are left in the fridge over night sitting in a vinegar and sugar mix, giving up all their juices. The next day after 2-3 hours of slow cooking they are transformed into abrosia. Then it’s canning and off to do errands.
Because this is a heritage recipe it is assumed you are a regular housewife putting things up so I have a few notes to add:
-the pear weight is before peeling/coring etc
-mix the pears and sugar and add vinegar once they are mixed well
-I used ground cinnamon over sticks as I was out.
-use a very large pot for your cooking as it will rise and there will be foam at the beginning. low and slow is the key with this.
9 pounds of pears
7 pounds of sugar
1 cup vinegar
1 stick cinnamon, 3 inches long
Peel, core and quarter (smaller pieces if you want) pears. Add 4 pounds of sugar and 1 cup of vinegar. Let stand overnight to draw out the juices. In the morning, drain the juice into a large kettle. Add the remaining 3 pounds of sugar and cinnamon stick, broken up. Bring to a boil and add the pears. Reduce heat and cook slowly about 2 hours or until the syrup has a light reddish (honey) color with a little bit of shine to it and pears are transparent. Pack into hot jars and seal. Process as your would for any preserves.