I have not always been a canning fan.
My sisters and I grew up helping my Mom can pears, applesauce, tomatoes, and peaches. But I dreaded it. In fact, I once fainted in a toasty kitchen while canning peaches. While being revived, I vowed to never participate in canning again by choice. But then I grew up. (You may or may not know that I turned 30 over the weekend, so lately I DO feel very grown up!)
Over Labor Day, my sister made the journey to Colorado's Palisades orchards. She returned with boxes of lovely pears and apples for the entire family! Although I don't eat a lot of fresh pears, I love making baby food from canned pears. I love throwing canned pears in a blender and having a meal ready to go.
I always worry that I haven't learned everything that I need to learn from my Mother. So last week when we got together to can pears, I took notes! So this tutorial is for me...
**Although I am sure there are many ways to can, this is my Mama's style. I realize there are many new gadgets and methods, but this it the way my Mother has always canned. And her Mother. And her Mother's Mother. So here's to keeping tradition alive!
My sister, Mom, and I formed an assembly line to cut up boxes and boxes of pears. We each took charge of 1 of these tools:
After hours of peeling, my sister was thrilled to show off all those peelings! That represents a ton of hard work!
Now it was time to fill those jars...
Along the way, my Mom taught us a very important award-winning trick...
(My Mother won awards at State Fairs for her canned goods!)
Are you ready for this??
The key to a beautiful can of pears:
Take a pear half and tuck your fingers inside its center. Point the narrow point of the pear down to the bottom of the jar and slip it inside! The point is that you don't see the insides of the pear halves.
We used a long stick to push all the way around the bottom of the jar to release the air bubbles. You should see the air bubbles rise up to the top of the surface. Then we wiped off the outside rim of each jar...
To seal the cans, we arranged 7 cans of pears in a huge pot of boiling water. After making sure the jars are covered with water, we put the lid on and timed them for 40 minutes. One of the most satisfying sounds is hearing the little "pops" that let you know that a jar is sealed! After 40 minutes, we carefully lifted the jars out of the pot. (Make sure to take out the middle jar last!)
Of course the best part was spending time with these ladies. My Mom and sister and I had a BLAST together!
And yes, we do have matching aprons!
Have a great week, friends!