Sunday, September 13, 2009

Pear Juice--The Update

TennZen was kind enough to supply me with the instructions for canning pear juice. As a happy coincidence, her instructions were for 24 pounds of pears and we had 24.5 pounds.

We started out by washing all the pears:

Then, the stem and blossom end was cut off and they were chopped (I didn't core them...was I supposed to??):

We added 2 quarts of water and cooked until the pears were soft:

At that point I stopped taking pictures, but we strained the juice through flour sack cloth and hung up the cloth with the pears in it (like a bag) so the juice would drip out. No squeezing the bag, it just gets your more sediment. The juice was refrigerated overnight and then heated up and canned the next day. I had two small problems. The first is--I never get as much juice as I "should". We got 4 quarts and the instructions said 6 quarts. This happened when we made apple juice last year too. I don't know what I'm doing to lessen my yield. The second problem was the juice was slightly bitter. Now, I know the ideal when making apple juice is to use more than one variety of apple. I assume pear juice is the same way, but we're working with totally free pears off the neighbor's tree, so we stuck with what we had. I'm not sure if the taste was due to the pears or because I didn't core them (ideas??). No worries, I added a little sugar (1 cup for 4 quarts of juice) and it's just fine. Perhaps not quite as healthy, but oh well. Of course, we took some over to the neighbors and they said we are welcome to more pears when they're ripe. It is a LARGE tree (taller than the house) and there are a lot of pears left, plus we have our little tree with several pounds of pears on it, so I need to figure out how to best make good use of them.

I also have a garden update. We finally got a good, long, soaking rain. For days, it rained a little, stopped for a while, rained a little, stopped for a while.... It was perfect. We didn't have any flooding, and the ground got completely saturated. Our plants look very happy with it and I'm hoping the extra moisture won't give us blight and powdery mildew problems (even if it does, I'm not complaining though...). It has been two weeks since we planted and here's what we have so far:

The cabbage and broccoli:

Two tomato beds (going to have to put in supports for these this week):

The beans (I really didn't expect such a high germination rate, still debating whether to thin them our or leave them as is):

The corn (again, wasn't really expecting anything, the seed was just thrown in there):

It's time to plant a fall crop of english peas, so I think we will be trying those. Last spring was our first time trying them, but they were very tolerant of our winter weather, so I think they'll work fine. I'm only a little concerned because our planting guide only gives a small window to get them out (9/15-9/30), so I'm guessing any weird weather will throw them off. It's also time to put out carrot and onion seed for harvest next year.

While we're on the topic of food preservation, I've come across an interesting site about food storage and disaster preparedness. They are doing an interesting challenge this week where they are giving a scenario for each day and you are to attempt to live out the scenario. At the very least, it's worth checking out and thinking about how you'd get through each situation. I think especially with hurricanes around here, it's easy to get in the mindset of always having a little advance warning to prepare for an emergency situation, and it doesn't always work that way. Are you prepared to take care of you and yours without any outside help, electricity or water for a few days or even a few weeks if need be? What if fuel wasn't available and leaving wasn't an option? Worth considering.


Lisa Reynoso said...

How long did you process the pear juice for? I can't seem to find the answer anywhere.

The Hills said...

Hi! A reader and I discussed this a little bit in the comments section of this post.

I ended up doing a boiling water bath for 10 minutes for quarts of juice (and I'm at an elevation less than 1000ft).

Jill T. said...

This is an old thread, but thought I'd comment. 5 minutes in the BWB is fine if you have pre-sterilized your jars but 10 minutes is suggested because it will also sterilize the jars at the same time. Also, your juice will be sweeter if you allow the pears to ripen more. You don't let pears ripen on the tree. Pick them when they easily come off if you gently lift them up towards the stem. Put them in a cool location to let them fully ripen. I put them in my air conditioned pantry for 2-3 weeks before processing. Look for the most current Ball Blue Book for canning instructions. There are other good ones out there, but this one will get you started.

Don and Angie said...

I think it might be the peeling left on. Next time try to peel and pit it first. Yes it is alot of work.. I'm doing it now.. lol I will be keeping the pulp in the juice too. :0)

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