The late George Pepper used to say, “There no such thing as too much pear salad” and I couldn’t agree more! It is my favorite way to eat pears. When I was little, I would drink pear juice leftover from the canned pears. YUM!
Linda Barnette said she loves pears any way they are prepared.
“My favorites are pear salad with lots of mayo and cheese and pear preserves!” Barnette said.
Jean Kilgore agrees. She loves pear salad.
Apparently there are many ways to make pear salad, but this is the recipe most used in our neck of the woods.
Southern Pear Salad
16 oz. can of pear halves, drained
Mayonnaise, preferably Blue Plate
Maraschino Cherries (optional)
Lay out a lettuce leaf and place pear half on top. Add about 1 tsp. mayo to the top of each pear and sprinkle on cheddar cheese over the mayonnaise. Top with a cherry, if you prefer.
But it is pear season and fresh pears are ripe for the pickin.’ I asked friends and followers on Facebook and Twitter how they best enjoyed pears, and received a wide variety of responses.
Many are cooking and canning and making pear preserves this week. My co-worker, Yvonne Hitt, has left work to go home and make pear preserves several days this week, with the help of her husband, Robert Hitt.
Her daughter, Julie, and her granddaughter-in-law, Kristin Hitt, are both are hoping Yvonne will “share the love.”
“Yvonne Logan Hitt better make me some jars,” said Kristin Hitt.
Easy Pear Preserves
5 lb. prepared pears
3 lb. sugar
1 1/4 c. leftover preserve syrup or use syrup below
1/4 c. Karo syrup
A preserve syrup may be made by boiling together 3/4 cup sugar with 3/4 cup water. Bring to a boil and allow to cool.
Peel, core and slice pears in 1/2 to 3/4 inch pieces then measure (5 pounds). Put in large cooking utensil. Pour sugar over top and mix slightly. Let stand overnight. Next morning, put on stove and stir carefully to mix. Bring to boil. Turn down heat and cook slowly until pears turn light brown and syrup thickens, stir often. More sugar may be added, small amount at a time during cooking. When desired doneness; put in sterilized jars and seal. Process in a boiling water bath for 20 minutes (pints) or 25 minutes (quarts).
May be cooked in oven on low heat (250-300°F) after the pears are boiling. (This takes longer, but not so much stirring.) Takes 2-3 hours in oven or 1-2 hours on stove top. Any leftover juice from canning pears may be added at beginning. Leftover syrup from preserves makes a wonderful syrup for pancakes.
Marcia Deaton Daniel makes pear butter.
“It’s kind of like a marmalade,” Daniel said. “Canned about 10 jars over the last couple of days. Put a little cinnamon in it. It’s yummy!”
4 to 5 lbs chopped Bartlett pears, do not peel or core them (remove any bruised or damaged parts)
1 star anise
2 Tbsp chopped fresh ginger
2 cups water
1 cup lemon juice
3-4 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon lemon zest
A wide 8-quart, thick-bottomed pan
A food mill or chinois
A large (8 cup) measuring cup
6-8 8-ounce canning jars, lids, and rings
Cook chopped pears with star anise, ginger, water, and lemon juice: Put chopped pears, star anise, and ginger into a large pot. Add 2 cups of water and 1 cup of lemon juice.
Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until the pears are completely soft, anywhere from 25 to 40 minutes. Remove from heat.
Push cooked pears through food mill: Fish out and discard the star anise from the pear mixture. Ladle the pear mixture (liquid included) into a chinoise or food mill and (use a pestle if using a chinoise) force the mixture through to a large bowl below.
Discard remaining solids (seeds, stems, tough parts).
Add pear purée, sugar, spices to pot: Measure the resulting purée, and pour into a large (8-qt), wide, thick-bottomed pan. For every cup of pear purée, add 1/2 cup of sugar. Stir to dissolve the sugar.
Add the cardamom, nutmeg, and lemon zest. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.
Cook until thick: Cook on medium heat, stirring often to prevent the purée from sticking to the bottom of the pan and burning. Cook until the mixture is quite thick, and a small bit placed on a chilled plate is not runny.
This can take anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the batch.
Sterilize jars for canning: While the mixture is cooking, sterilize the jars for canning.
To sterilized the jars, either 1) run them through the short cycle of your dishwasher, 2) rinse them and place them in a 225°F oven for 10 minutes, or 3) place them on top of a steaming rack in a large pot of water which you bring to a boil for 10 minutes.
Pour pear butter into jars to can: When the pear butter is ready, pour into hot, sterilized jars and seal, allowing for 1/4-inch head space between the pear butter and the rims of the jars.
If you plan to store the pear butter outside of a refrigerator, follow proper canning procedures.
Before applying the lids, sterilize them by placing them in a bowl and pouring boiling water over them.
Wipe the rims of the jars clean before applying lids. Use a hot water bath* for 10 minutes to ensure a good seal.
*Place on a steaming rack in a large pot of boiling water that covers the jars by at least an inch.
Reba Thompson said she loves her pears, “fresh, preserves, pear salad…any way!”
Wendy Cook agrees, –“anyway I can get them!”
Coleen Mckenzie said she loves pear cobbler and pear salad. “Delicious!
Sue Stidham loves pears too!
We love fresh pear pie. My mother-in-law used to have prolific pear trees! (recent storms have damaged the trees significantly, so we are not passing pears out as parting gifts anymore.)
But she used to make Fresh Pear Pie that I thought was so good. Adding apples can make it ever better!
Fresh Pear Pie
6 cups sliced peeled ripe pears
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1 cup sugar, divided
1 unbaked pastry shell (9 inches)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground mace
1/3 cup cold butter
Vanilla ice cream, optional
In a large bowl, combine the pears, lemon juice and peel and coriander. Add 1/2 cup sugar; toss gently to coat. Spoon into pie shell. In a small bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, mace and remaining sugar; cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle over pears. Bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes or until filling is bubbly and topping is browned. Cool on a wire rack. Serve warm or cold with ice cream if desired. Yield: 6-8 servings.
But I think Angela Clanton had the simplest idea. She loves to eat a slice of fresh pear dipped in vanilla yogurt.
How do you enjoy fresh pears? Email me at email@example.com.