Sunday, September 11, 2011

Aunt Selma's Pear Pineapple Spread. Ms. Mona's Pear Preserves. It's a "Pear" of names for a Southern Favorite

It's another late night writing a post after a long day of sitting in doctor's offices and radiology waiting rooms with Mama in Hattiesburg.  We hurried home as quick as we could get done with her business.  She had chickens to tend to and, well, I had Pear Pineapple Spread cooking slowly in the crock pot to be checked on.  Yep.  I cook them in the crock pot.  But before I get to the spread, also known as Ms. Mona's Pear Preserves, you've got to see Mama in Sam's Club.  She was so cute!  At 83 years old, she had never been in one.  And what did she get me to purchase for her?  A huge jug of Downy fabric softener, OdoBan cleaner (our favorite virucide/bacteriacide), bananas, and a three pound box of cherries.  It was a fun two hour stretch of time as she scooted hither and yon (mostly yon) through the super-duper-big-box store.

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.
I had cut the pears from the core the night before, sprinkling them with a light dusting of Fruit Fresh and putting them in the refrigerator.  It's the only way to go when time is short and everything can't get done all in the same day.  They were still nice and white, crisp and juicy when these were started a day later.

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.
I used the ubercheap brand of crushed pineapple.  It worked fine, especially since I ran it through the Cuisinart as well.  Sometimes the **ahem** more economical brands of food stuffs can be inconsistently processed when it comes to size and/or consistency.  I put the blade in the processor and assured myself it was all very well crushed.

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.
That's a vintage McCall's Cook Book I forgot to tell my ex-sister-in-law I had of hers inherited. It's old and outdated and has a fine fine white cake recipe in it I like to use when I'm called to bake one.  I really don't like white cakes, but when I make one that's the recipe used.

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!!!
Another cake in the oven, too!

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.
There you have it!  Six and a half pints of Ms. Mona's Pear Preserves also known as Aunt Selma's Pineapple Pear Spread.

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!



  1. Oh! This sounds sooooo delicious! Maybe (my) Mama will have some pears this year! Thanks, May-Ree, for yet another delightful treat from our childhood!

  2. Used this as a topping for a butter pecan cake and it was amazing. Very addictive! I'll have to try adding the lemon slices to the next batch. Sounds yummy too.