Southern Living Cookbook
10 large pears (about 5 pounds), peeled, cored and chopped
4 1/2 cups sugar
3 cups water
2 lemons, thinly sliced
Place pears in a 3-quart Dutch oven and add water to cover. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until pears are tender. Drain.
Combine sugar and 3 cups water in a 6-quart Dutch oven; bring to a boil, and cook 10 minutes (mixture will be a thin, transparent syrup). Remove from heat, and let cool 15 minutes.
Stir in pears and lemon slices; bring mixture to a rapid boil. Boil rapidly until pears are transparent (about 45 minutes), stirring occasionally.
Pour pear mixture into a shallow 13- x 9- x 2-inch pan; skim off foam with a metal spoon. Cover loosely with paper towels, and let stand in a cool place 12 hours. Shake pan occasionally (do not stir) so pears will absorb the syrup. Skim off foam with a metal spoon.
Heat fruit and syrup mixture in Dutch oven. Using a slotted spoon, spoon the hot fruit into hot jars. Bring syrup to a boil; pour boiling syrup over fruit, leaving 1/4-inch head space; wipe jar rims. Cover with metal lids; screw on bands. Process in boiling-water bath 20 minutes. Yield: 3 pints.
Note: 5 pounds of whole pears became 3 1/2 pounds after peeling and coring– yield= 3 pints of preserves. Also, if you are suspicious that the syrup is too runny and unlikely to gel, when you boil the syrup for the last time just before pouring it over the fruit, test it by putting a little on a cold plate. If it is not starting to congeal at all, continue boiling the syrup until the cold-plate test is good for a bit of a gel. Just watch it–boil too long and you’ve made hard pear candy. (You are more likely to have a no-gel situation if you have tried to reduce the sugar like I tend to do.)
I am going to have to make a second batch. They are already starting to walk out the door.
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