Sometimes I don't want to write about anything until I've tasted it, which makes sense right? But it's hard to wait for pickled things to meld. Like these pickled pears. I was so excited for them, but I wasn't sure what they would taste like. I had never had pickled pears before.
Well, let me tell you: they are incredible. Make them now, while local pears are still around. Great out of the jar, not too sour, but just sprightly enough. They would make a lovely simple dessert or, a great addition to a cheese plate. I used very unripe D'Anjou pears, and I think a ripe pear would probably not fare too well. So pick out some firm pears, make these pickles, and wait. It's worth it!
Pickled Pears, adapted from The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving
Makes about eight pints
8 to 12 pounds of crisp or firm pears, unpeeled*, cored, cut into quarters if small, eighths if large
4 1/2 cups of water
2 1/4 cups of sugar
3/4 cup of white wine vinegar
strips of lemon zest, sprigs of rosemary and black peppercorns for each jar
Prepare your canner, jars and lids. In a heavy saucepan, heat water and sugar until sugar dissolves. Add vinegar. Put the pears in, in batches so they will be submerged, until they are heated through, about five minutes. Put the warm pears in hot pint jars. Add a strip of lemon zest, some black peppercorns, and a sprig of fresh rosemary into each jar. Ladle hot syrup into the jars, leaving a 1/2 inch headspace. Release any bubbles. Process in boiling water bath for twenty minutes. Let cool. Store in a dark place for a few weeks before enjoying.
(Note that when you make any fruit in syrup, that the amounts might not always be perfect. You may not have enough syrup, or you may have too much. This happens almost every time I make something like this. Just make a bit more, or use the rest of the syrup in your tea.)
* Because I'm lazy (and because I had fifty pounds of pears to process) I decided to leave the pears unpeeled. By all means, peel away. But they tasted just fine with the peel on. That might be due to the thin skin of the D'Anjou pear I used.
Julia Sforza also writes about cooking and food preserving at What Julia Ate.