1 1 Sawtooth and the petticoats: White Wine Pears

Saturday, November 6, 2010

White Wine Pears

So, I know it's November, and probably the pears are done for you. I do feel guilty putting this up so late, but I just made it last week! Maybe it's not too late!

I bought two boxes of apples and a box of pears recently. The pears ripened in about a day and a half, which I'm never prepared for (My thoughts upon purchase: They're rock hard and green as a leprechaun! I have forever to come up with a kick-butt pear recipe! It had better be more awesome than the previous pears!*) And then like two seconds later someone told me they were ripe. I peeled them all! I sliced and diced! (Well, just sliced. And cored. But that doesn't rhyme.) And I did what I do a lot: I looked at some recipes online, poked around in the pantry, and improvised from there. Here's my version of

White Wine Pears

1 & 1/2 bottles white wine
equal amount of water
2 cups white sugar
about 17 & 1/2 pounds pears, peeled, sliced, and cored
1 t fennel seeds
1 t dried lavender

Prepare your jars in a boiling-water bath, along with the rings. Simmer the lids in a small pot of water.

Pour the wine and water into a large pot and stir in the sugar until dissolved. Put the spices in a tea ball or small cheesecloth pouch and add to the pot. Bring to a boil and then let simmer. 

Add the pear slices and simmer until the pears are soft but not falling apart, about 3 to 5 minutes. (If the pears are not all submerged in the liquid, put a lid on the pot.) Remove the spice bag.

Use a slotted spoon to distribute the pears equally among the jars. Pour the liquid over, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Use a chopstick or small spatula to remove air bubbles. If you would like a stronger taste of the herbs, add a pinch of either to the top of each jar.

Wipe the rims, put on the lids and rings, and put back in the hot water. Bring it back to a boil and boil for twenty-five minutes. Remove from the hot water, let cool, check the seals, remove rings and wipe down jars, and date and label!

Makes 7 quarts

Two notes: 
My winning costume -- Unicorn Princess.
1. I used 1/4 bottle of Reisling, a bottle of German  sparkling wine (which I won at a Halloween party), and 1/4 bottle of mead. Any white wine works, or even red, I suppose. I liked the effervescence the sparkling wine gave it.
2. When I put my jars back in the hot-water bath, I stick the probe of my instant-read thermometer in the water and set the alarm for the boiling temp. Then I have a few minutes to walk away, check my email, read a great blog, do the crossword.  This thing is handy in so many ways, and more than worth the money.

Eat these straight, or over ice cream or pound cake. The flavors are not very strong, but nice and pear-y.

As for those apples, I've been making applesauce and apple butter. I normally just cook up the apples in a little liquid until they're soft, then run them through the food mill and add whatever I want -- spices, vanilla bean, sugar, apple cider, fruit puree. I even saved all the pear peels and cores from this recipe and simmered them up with some of the apples.

I'll talk more in a day or two about the MAGIC of applesauce, how even if you're not a canner you can still make it very easily, and a few ways to use it. Check back then!

*Now I know why cold-pack pears are not recommended. My jars look like a grit storm.


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