Three In One Pears: Canning Ginger Pears, Dark Ginger Pear Syrup, and Pear Juice
This recipe requires a little time commitment, but you get three different products for your efforts. You'll find it was more than worth it when you crack open a jar of delicately ginger flavoured tender pears in a dark, caramel-scented ginger syrup, or drizzle some of the extra syrup over a bowl of vanilla ice cream or into a pear crisp, or sip on a glass of chilled pear juice.
For the Dark Ginger Syrup:
- 4 1/2 cups raw sugar Can substitute light brown sugar if raw is unavailable.
- 6 cups water
- 2- inch piece of ginger peeled and cut into very thin matchstick like pieces
For the Ginger Pears:
- 8 to 12 pounds fresh pears ripe but firm, plus 6 extra pears (for the juice)
For the Pear Juice:
- 12 cups fresh cool water
- 3/4 cup lemon juice
To Make the Dark Ginger Syrup and Ginger Pears:
Prepare canner, jars and lids. Follow this link for more detailed instructions on how to do this. You will want 6-8 quart jars and 2-4 pint jars or 4-8 half pint jars and the lids/rings for them.
Combine the raw sugar, sliced ginger and water in a large stainless steel saucepan. Stirring constantly to dissolve the sugar, bring the mixture to a boil over medium high heat. Add a lid to the pot, turn off the heat and leave on the burner to keep warm and infuse with the ginger flavour. This is the dark ginger syrup.
Combine the juice ingredients in a stainless steel, plastic or glass bowl. Set this near a cutting board on the counter top. It is going to do double duty by preventing discoloration of the pears and then becoming juice.
Working with one pear at a time to prevent browning, cut the pear in half, peel with a vegetable peeler and use a melon baller to remove the tough core and seeds from the pear. Ease it into the lemon water. Repeat until all of your pears are peeled and cored and in the water (including the 6 extra pears.)
Remove the lid from the syrup and place it over medium low heat until steam is coming from it. Gently warm all but 12 of the pear halves in a single layer until heated all the way through. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the pears, cored side down in overlapped layers, leaving between 1/2-inch and 3/4-inch of head space (err on the side of more rather than less head space if necessary.) Be sure you've left 12 pear halves in the lemon water.
Use a ladle to pour the hot syrup over the pears (allowing the ginger shreds to pour into the jars, too.) Remove air bubbles from the jars (using a thin, flexible knife or a chopstick and adjust syrup levels if necessary. Wipe rims, center lids on jars, and screw rings into place until fingertip tight.
Pour additional syrup into pint or half pint jars leaving 1/4-inch of head space, wipe the rims, center the lids on the jars, and screw the rings in place until fingertip tight.
Place those jars in the canner, cover with water, bring to a boil and process the jars for 25 minutes. When the time is up, turn the heat off, remove the lid from the canner and let the jars sit in the water for 5 minutes. Transfer the jars to a cooling rack and let them cool undisturbed overnight, then remove the rings, wipe down, label and store.
To Make the Pear Juice:
Transfer the liquid and 12 remaining pear halves to a large stainless steel pot. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and let simmer uncovered until the pears are falling apart.
Line a colander that is positioned over a large stockpot with at least two layers of cheese cloth and and use a large measuring cup or ladle to scoop the pear/water mixture into the colander. Let it slowly filter -without pressing it down- until it stops dripping through the cheese cloth. This may take up to two hours.
Place the stockpot over medium high heat and bring it up just to the point where steam is rising from the top- 190°F. Ladle the hot juice into prepared jars, leaving 1/4-inch of head space in the jar.
Wipe the rims, center the lids, and screw the rings in place until fingertip tight.
Place the jars in the canner, cover with water, add the lid to the canner and bring to a boil. Process for 10 minutes, turn off the heat, remove the lid from the canner and let the jars rest in the water for 5 minutes. Transfer the jars to a cooling rack and let cool undisturbed overnight. Remove the rings, wipe down and label and store.