Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Picking pears

We've had a dry spell that's made me kinda complacent about harvesting the last of the garden goodies, but it needed to get done; so last week I finally got around to picking the pears.

Because the pear tree had been hooked up to the drip irrigation system all summer, the resulting fruit was beatiful. The pears were about a pound each.

This little tree isn't terribly tall, but it's taller than me, so I used the stepladder to reach the higher branches. Time to get a fruit picker (we had one in Oregon and it worked great, but we've lost it).

Here's the harvest from our single tree. Not enormous, perhaps, but it's the most I've had to date from this tree and I'm tickled to pieces.

I spread the pears out to ripen, but left them a bit too long, as some of them began to develop bad spots. Time to can! Incidentally, here's a tip to tell when a pear is ripe: gently press the flesh just around the stem. If it "gives" a bit, the pear is ripe.

I peeled and sliced into rough quarters (some were smaller due to the need to cut out bad spots).

I gave a bit to Lihn, Younger Daughter's Quaker parrot. She thought it was the greatest thing since sliced bread... and she loves sliced bread.

I packed the pear pieces into quart jars, then made the syrup. I prefer a thin syrup, which is a 2:1 ration of water:sugar. The syrup should come to a boil.

Scraps. Last year I made pear vinegar out of the fruit scraps, but I still have plenty of vinegar in my pantry, so these scraps went into the compost pile.

I ended up with seven quarts and one pint of pears.

Scalding my Tattler lids.

Filling the jars with syrup.

Wiping the jars and checking for nicks in the rims.

Whoops. This jar had a small nick. Tiny, but just enough to keep the lid from sealing.

So I cleaned another jar and upended the contents of the nicked jar into it.

(I cleaned the nicked jar and demoted it to storing dry goods.)

Putting the lids on.

Into the water bath. Cold-packed pears need to be boiled for 30 minutes (for quarts).

Out of the canner and onto the counter, cooling.

I always love it when I can take a food item from beginning (planting the pear tree ten years ago) to end (on our pantry shelf).

I love living on a homestead.


  1. I use nail polish to paint DRY on the base of chipped jars, then use them to,store the dehyrated

  2. Those are some beautiful pears! We got pears this year, too...first time in 8 years. Ours are not as big as yours, but we are grateful to have them. Canned them all up, too. Do you get pears every year?

  3. I don't have a pear tree but manage to pick them from a tree that belongs to someone who does not want pears or from a pear tree on municipal property.

  4. The pears are beautiful. Do you brew kombucha? A second brew with the leftover pear pieces would have been so tasty. Like a fizzy pear soda.

  5. I agree wholeheartedly on the fruit picker. We are lucky enough to have several decades old pear trees and the picker really works. I was skeptical at first but it does work as advertised! The only problem is that your arms get tired after some time. I guess I need to do more garden hoeing to get into better shape. The best thing we got last year was some fruit leather that we made. Really tasty.

  6. Do you recall what type of pear tree you have?

  7. I read recently that to get a good pear they must be picked before they are ripe and allowed to ripen off the tree. Wish I had known this years ago. Our nieghbor had a very large pear tree that produced hundreds of pears but they were always hard or too soft. Had I just known to take the hard ones and ripen them before eating.

  8. Congratulations on your harvest! We are still waiting on our trees to mature, but we live where we can buy them in bulk and do a lot of canning. One thing we like to do is use a melon baller to core the pear halves. The melon baller can also be used to cut what's left of the blossom end out and then the fibrous stem can be removed by pulling. It saves us substantial time over course of hundreds of pounds of pears!

  9. Canned pears have been one of my favorite foods since I was a little kid. When I was feeling a bit low, or had a touch of the flu or whatever, my Mom would open a cold can of pears (she kept them in the fridge) and I was in Heaven! Got better real quick, too! I've often wondered why no one cans pear juice. I'd buy a ton of it! --Fred in AZ

  10. My Grandmother said that her mother used to wrap each pear in newspaper and ripen them under the bed. Perhaps you can try ripening them in darkness next year to minimize the bad spots.