With the harvest upon us, many Utahns turn to canning to preserve the bounty. My grandmother used to preserve all kinds of fruits and vegetables.
That’s because my grandfather worked at Grower’s Market, long before a Farmer’s Market was the place to be on Saturday mornings. Salt Lake City’s Grower’s Market filled a large area near 500 South – where there is now a large hotel. My grandfather had a booth there, and that’s how he supported my grandmother and their daughter, who just happens to be my mother, through the Great Depression.
I never had the chance to learn canning from Grandma, but I remember her pears – they were perfectly sweet and pretty enough to win a blue ribbon at any State Fair. Last year, I canned pears for the first time, and they were delicious. I did a few more pints this fall, and this is how I preserve this favorite of fruits.
Canned Pears in Light Syrup (makes 6 pints)
- 7-7½ pounds ripe, unbruised, unblemished pears
- 4½ cups water
- ¾ cup white sugar
- Lemon Juice
Make a simple syrup by bringing the water and sugar to a boil for five minutes. Peel, core and cut up pears into bit size pieces or cut into halves. Place cut pears in large bowl of cold water with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. This stops them from turning brown. Fill sterilized jars with fruit, cover with syrup and add 1/8 teaspoon lemon juice per pint. Leave ½” of head-space at the top. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for preparing lids.
Place jars in water-filled canner, bring to boil. Process for 30 minutes once it comes to and stays at a boil. Place processed jars on towel in a draft-free place for 24 hours. You will hear a “ping” that indicates vacuum has formed that will preserve pears. If you don’t hear the “ping,” reprocess or put in your refrigerator. Use within 5 days. Mark lids with date and store in a cool, dry place.
There are many websites available to people who want to preserve their harvest, and you can link to one of my favorites by clicking here. It is important to follow directions exactly to avoid bacterial growth or mold. After all, you want to enjoy the bounty, not make yourself or your family sick. Be sure to adjust your processing time to allow for Salt Lake City’s high altitude.
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Source: canningUSA.com, Utah Historical Society, Downtown Alliance