Thursday, 14 April 2011

Preserving pears ~ and a good fruit-sugar-water ratio

I'm part way through packing away my pears for the year and am once more using the simple ratio that worked so well last year: for each kilo of prepared fruit (ie: peeled, cored, etc) I use one cup of sugar and five cups of water. 

I considered reducing the amount of sugar, but found there was no need to do so.  The right amount of sugar enhances the natural flavour and makes it refreshing to eat, whereas fruit that is over-sweetened can seem too rich and leave a cloying taste.

The amount of water given will mean you have plenty of syrup to top up your jars, with some being left over after you've finished.  This is helpful as you won't need to keep a kettle of water simmering nearby for topping up your jars, and also when you get near to the bottom of the pot the remaining pieces of fruit will still have syrup to swim in.  And after you've done the washing up, you'll have a very pleasant glass of light pear syrup to drink up - num-num!

Fruit needn't be peeled but I prefer it that way.  Having done this I've found that wastage due to peeling and coring is about a quarter of the initial weight.  Last year I started off with 8 kilos of fruit and the before-cooking weight was 6 kilos.

Compared to making jam, preserves are quick and easy: the main work goes into preparing the fruit and in making sure the jars and lids are all clean and ready to go.  As I prepare and slice the pears I place them into a large bowlful of cold water to prevent browning.  I drain the water off when I'm ready to get cooking.  As I near the end of preparing the fruit I put the sugar and water on to heat so that it's hot and ready to receive the fruit once I've finished preparing it.  Fruit is put into the heated water all at the same time so that it cooks evenly.  Once it is on the stove the process of getting them all into jars is over in about half an hour - all the fruit looking luscious in pop-top jars and the lids clicked down and fully sealed.

Last year I did the fruit in two batches.  My regular-sized stock pot takes only about two and a half kilos of fruit, whereas the larger one comfortably takes three.

The yield was fourteen jars, mostly these large ones. 

This year my first batch of 2.8 kilos of prepared fruit produced 9 jars of preserves, five of them large and four medium sized.  

Blessings on the pear trees, which bear so much fruit so generously.  

Spring blossom, October 2011

This article is an updated version of the one I published in April 2010.
For expanded notes about doing preserves you can refer to my earlier articles: 
Preserves - notes both general and particular, and 
Pop-top jars for jam and preserves.

More of my articles about jam and preserves as well as other food articles can be found listed together via the link below:


Rachel said...

Your's look fabulous and so much more fruit per jar than mine. I think maybe mine were a little undercooked and therefore less squoozable! And I agree about the peeling, I'm just too lazy to do it :) x

Leigh said...

Thank you, Rachel, I admired yours too last time I visited. Those splendid pears have gone a long way!