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Prep 72 hrs
Cook 30 mins
These are old-fashioned preserves like grandma used to make, with silky pieces of fruit in a sweet, jelled syrup. Perfect for hot biscuits, morning toast, on top of rice pudding, or stirred into plain yogurt. Add ginger, nutmeg, and/or cardamom. They're also nice with orange or lemon peel. You can use any amount of pears up to four pounds. Greater amounts don't seem to work as well. The recipe takes three days, but most of that time is hands-off.
- Day 1:.
- Peel and core pears. Slice or dice into pieces of desired size.
- Place pears in a large bowl and add an equal amount of sugar by weight (e.g. 4 lbs of pears = 4 lbs of sugar) Add juice of one lemon. Zest is optional, but adds a nice flavor. Stir gently to distribute sugar. Leave in refrigerator overnight. Stir several times to coat fruit with syrup.
- Day 2:.
- Place pears and syrup in a large pot. Bring to a boil, boil 10 minutes. Reduce heat to simmer and cook an additional 15-20 minutes until pears are translucent and candied. Turn off heat and leave pears in syrup overnight (no need to refrigerate). Place a clean dish towel under pot lid to prevent condensation.
- Day 3:.
- Remove pears from syrup, straining all syrup back into the pot. Bring syrup to a boil and cook to desired thickness (usually around 220 degrees). Test doneness by dropping syrup onto a frozen plate. It should gel almost immediately. When ready add pears back to syrup and remove from heat. Stir gently for approximately 10 minutes as preserves cool. This will keep the fruit distributed in the syrup and prevent it floating to the top of your jars.
- Place preserves in sterilized jars leaving 1/2 inch of head space. If packing hot jars, process in boiling water bath for 5 minutes. For cold jars, process 10 minutes.
- Leave jars undisturbed for 24 hours to cool and set. Enjoy!