Now. On to the serious stuff of pear preserves. Ms. Mona had posted this recipe in a discussion tab of Best Southern Recipes from the Deep South earlier this week. It's the same one Aunt Selma used to make Pear Pineapple Spread. Ms. Mona and her family eat it like preserves. Aunt Selma always put a layer of it with cream cheese for a fancy finger sandwich. Either way, it's delicious and worthy of putting into the search engines of google, riiight?
The pears appeared at the back door, if you remember from the Vanilla Pear Jelly post, transported there via a cousin. I peeled and cored them, using those parts to make juice with and saving the pear flesh for these preserves.
Ms. Mona says she and her family likes the pears sliced thinly for this. I like them grated. In the pre-Cuisinart days the task of grating pears would have made knuckles bleed and fingers sore without ever getting out the grater. It doesn't take long to make short work of grating a pan of pears with the grater attachment on the trusted device, though, so if you've a preference for a smoother spread, break out the food processor. Save your knuckles for pimento and cheese made with red rind cheddar on the fine side of the manual grater.
You'll also need sugar and a 20 ounce can of crushed pineapple. A crockpot. And jars, lids, and bands to can the preserves with when they're cooked.
Put everything in the crock pot, turn it on low, and forget about it for six or seven hours. Carry your mother to Sam's Club. I came home and they were almost cooked, needing only to thicken up somewhat. I took the lid off the crock pot and made cakes.
The pears and pineapple cook to a beautiful dark honey color. If you like a lighter preserve, by all means add lemon juice and lemon slices. When Mama makes her plain pear preserves she'll slice up a lemon and cook it in the preserves. It's my favorite thing to eat, that lemon, when Mama makes pear preserves. Only the rind of it tastes like lemon anymore, the flesh having taken on an exotic flavor that escapes description.
Tadadaaaa! They're all done. There's no fob to preserves but that doesn't stop me from having a big spoonful on a slice of white bread. And just to add insult to injury, I poured cream on top, too. Ohhhh, deliciousness coronary style!!!
Process into sterilized mason jars. I've never done the water bath thang with preserves or jellies. I suppose I ought to. The USDA recommends it. But I don't. And I do have a Serv Safe Food Certificate so please don't bladahblahh 'bout botulism and ptomaine poisoning and the black plague. I know this stuff... I also have the common sense to start and end with sanitized equipment. I'm proficient at controlling and maintaining food temperatures for optimum food quality. I'm of the opinion that further processing in a water bath will over-cook the pears and they'll become grainy. That's just me, though. Some folks are of the erroneous opinion that I'm spoiled. I'm not - I just do what I want the way I want to (most of the time). I don't water bath preserves and jellies.
Those ingredients again are:
8 cups pears, sliced or grated
8 cups sugar
20 ounce can of crushed pineapple
Cook all ingredients slowly until preserves consistency. Process into hot sterilized mason jars, sealing with lids and bands. These also store in the freezer very well, although they never actually freeze.
Do yourself a favor. Get a block of cream cheese and white pasty sliced bread and make a sandwich with these preserves. Oh. Myyyy. And if you'd like to do yourself another favor, bake a pan of cornbread. Open up a wedge and spoon this on, topped with heavy cream - a Deep South treat from my childhood and a leading cause of childhood obesity, too!