Saturday, January 28, 2012

How Do You Freeze Zucchini?

Zuchinni is a small variety of summer squash. Summer and winter squash are divided into separate categories based on the time of year that they mature and the thickness of the skin. Summer squash has a thinner outer skin and ripens much earlier in the growing season than winter squash.

Technically, it is spelled as zucchini, but the word is often misspelled as zuchini or zucinni. The zucchini purchased in most grocery stores is dark green. When allowed to fully ripen green zucchini often turns yellow. However, there are some varieties of zucchini that are a pale green, yellow or multicolored at all stages of development. It is a myth that all yellow zucchini is overly ripe.


Freeze Zucchini as Slices

sliced zucchini for freezing
Regardless of the color, choose young squash that is free from blemishes and bruises.
  1. Wash it and allow it to dry.
  2. Slice it into 1/4 inch pieces.
  3. Blanch it in boiling water or steam for 3 minutes. Blanching helps to preserve the quality of vegetables. If the zucchini are going to be fried or added to casseroles later, this step can be skipped, but the zucchini will stay fresher if they are blanched before being frozen.
  4. Pack the zucchini into freezer safe bags, or containers.
  5. Label the containers with the contents and date of freezing.
Unblanched zucchini will last four to six months in the freezer, while blanched zucchini will last ten to twelve months. Many bread recipes call for shredded zuchinni, if you commonly use it in shredded form, it can be shredded rather than sliced, before freezing. The steam method of blanching shredded zucchini works best. Zucchini frozen in slices can be added to casseroles and salads. It can be used much like fresh zucchini.


Freeze Zucchini as Pulp

zucchini bread
  1. Wash, peel and slice the zucchini into 1 inch or smaller pieces.
  2. Boil the squash in a small amount of water until it becomes tender. Do not over cook it. The zucchini can also be baked in the oven.
  3. Mash the zucchini with a potato masher or fork.
  4. Place the mashed zucchini in a bowl and allow it to cool completely before freezing.
  5. Spoon the zucchini pulp into freezer safe containers.
  6. Label the containers with the contents and date of freezing.
Zucchini pulp, or puree, can be used in baked goods, such as bread and pie fillings much like pumpkin or sweet potato is used.

Zucchini, is one variety of summer squash. Other varieties include crookneck, straightneck and scallop. Of these varieties, zucchini is by far the most common summer squash. Zucchini can be used in any recipe calling for summer squash. Other methods of preserving zucchini include drying it and canning it as pickles or relish, just as a cucumber would be pickled.


"Ball Blue Book of Preserving." Jarden Home Brands. 2005. Muncic, IN 47305.
Sliced zucchini photo: Dey,
Zucchini bread photo: Foodistablog,

How to Can Apples for Pies or Toppings

how to can apples at home

To can apples at home you will need canning jars, apples, and a water bath canner, or a large stockpot. If you do not have your own apple tree consider visiting a nearby orchard for wonderfully fresh and local apples. Planting an apple tree, or any fruit tree, is a worthwhile investment. Fruit trees cost very little and require minimal care after they are fully established. An apple tree can provide fruit for decades.

A common question asked by those learning to can apples at home is, "What kind of apples should I use?" The answer is that any apple can be used. Eating apples are usually larger and sweeter than cooking apples. The reason for the classification is that "cooking apples" are not as enjoyable to eat raw and are therefore, designated for cooking instead. That does not mean that an "eating apple," isn't perfectly fine to cook. Any variety of apple, or combination, can be used for canning. Apple varieties that are known for retaining their shape and texture after canning are Braeburn, Empire and Rome. The varieties of canning apples make very good pie fillings and canned apple rings.


Basic Recipe to Can Apples

  • 9 pounds of apples
  • 2 ½ cups Sugar
  • 5 cups Water
Wash, core and peel the canning apples, then quarter them. As the apples are cut, they will need to be treated to prevent them from oxidation, or browning. Oxidation not only looks unsightly, the nutritional value of fruit is actually reduced as oxidation occurs. Treating the apples with “Fruit Fresh,” or similar product will work, but I prefer a more natural approach. A few teaspoons of lemon or lime juice added to water that covers the apples completely will prevent browning as you slice them. Prepare a syrup using 2 ½ cups of sugar to each 5 cups of water. Boil the syrup until it thickens to the desired thickness. Then gently simmer the apples in the syrup for 5 minutes. Pack the apples into canning jars and process them for 20 minutes. This recipe is a perfect way to can apples for baking in pies later, or as an added topping to baked goods.


Canning Tips to Ensure the Jars Seal

Leave at least ½ an inch of space at the top of each canning jar. Always use sterile lids and rings. They can be sterilized by boiling or placing them in a dishwasher with a high temperature rinse cycle. New lids and rings are the safest way to can apples and ensure a good seal. If there are any air bubbles in the jar, run a spatula around the outside of the canning jar to remove them before sealing the jar. A water bath canner is preferable for boiling the jars, as it holds the jars in place and prevents them from banging together. However, any large stockpot can be used to “process,” or boil water canned foods such as apples.


Apple Rings

  • 10 pounds of apples
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 4 cups water
Wash the canning apples and remove the core. There is no need to peel them. Slice across the width of the apple to form ¼ inch rings. If you have a lot of apples, an electric deli slicer will make quick work of this project. Prepare a syrup of water and sugar. To prevent the apples from discoloring as they are cut, place a few teaspoons of lemon juice in the syrup mixture and drop each ring into it after slicing. Bring the apples and syrup to a boil and then reduce the heat to simmering for 40 minutes. Remove the apple rings from the syrup and layer them into the jars. The syrup can be simmered longer, if desired, to thicken it or poured over the apple rings immediately. Process pints for 15 minutes and quarts for 20 minutes.


Credits and Resources

How to Freeze a Tomato

can you freeze a tomatoYou have a bumper crop of tomatoes to harvest and you are wondering what to do with them all. Freezing is the closest thing there is to fresh when considering a method of food preservation. Freezing retains the tomatoes nutrients, color, and flavor better than canning or drying them. Freezing a tomato is also quick and easy. Always select firm ripe tomatoes of good quality. The quality of the tomato before freezing will dramatically influence your finished product.


Freezing Tomato Sauce or Tomato Juice

  1. Wash the tomatoes
  2. Quarter, core and seed them.
  3. Simmer the tomatoes in a saucepan until they are soft, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
  4. Puree the tomatoes in a food processor.
  5. Return the tomatoes to the sauce pan and continue simmering until reduced to 1/2 the volume.
  6. Cool the sauce.
  7. Place the tomato sauce in a freezer safe container or glass jar.
  8. Label with the date and contents before freezing.
To freeze tomato juice follow only steps one through four. After the tomatoes have been pureed, cool them and freeze without reducing the volume. The sauce can be thawed and used in any recipe calling for tomato sauce.

Tomato Sauce

 Freeze a Tomato

You can freeze a tomato in quarters. This is by far the simplest method of preserving a tomato and works very well for any cooked tomato dish. Freezing a tomato also makes quick work of removing the skin.
  1. Wash the tomato.
  2. Slice it into quarters.
  3. Remove the core and seeds.
  4. Place it in a freezer-safe container and label with the date and contents. Tomatoes do not need to be thawed before cooking and they can be added to soups, stews, and casseroles without thawing them. Allowing the tomato to thaw slightly with make the skin very easy to remove. It simply slips off before adding the tomato to your favorite dish.


Troubleshooting How to Freeze a Tomato

Freezer burn is caused by improper wrapping. If your tomato comes out freezer burnt, choose a different container the next time.

Bacteria and Yeast spoil food and are ever present in the environment. To prevent spoiled tomatoes begin with the freshest, ripest tomato. Also, keep the freezer setting below 0 degrees.

Ice Crystals form when tomatoes are frozen at a temperature above 0 degrees. Setting your freezer at or below zero will freeze the tomato faster and prevent the crystals from forming.

Oxidation is when the tomato begins to brown from exposure to air. To prevent oxidation, use a container that doesn't allow are to enter.
It is quick and easy to freeze a tomato and allows them to be preserved for later. Use the tomatoes from your garden all year long by freezing them as juice, sauce, or simply quartered.



Red Bowl of Tomatoes Photo: Jacki-Dee,
Tomato Sauce Photo: KellyK,
"Ball Blue Book of Preserving." Jarden Home Brands. 2005. Muncic, IN 47305.

More articles by this author:
How to Boost Your Immune System Naturally
Tomato Food Facts

Should Watermelons Be Planted in the Same Place in the Garden Next Year?


Can watermelons be planted in the same place the next year? The Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service recommends that watermelons, and other vine plants, not be planted where other vine plants have existed in the past three years to minimize pests and disease. Heeding this advice will yield healthier plants and more watermelon fruit for your labor.


Soil Health When Growing Watermelons

All crops, including watermelons, use nitrogen and other nutrients from the soil as they grow. For this reason, it is a good idea not to plant watermelons in the same place year after year. The soil needs time to replenish itself.
Natural and organic sources of nitrogen, which feed the soil, are composted fruit and vegetable scraps, chicken manure, coffee grounds, fish scraps, or grass clippings. These materials add to the soil fertility and it is a good idea to fertilize with them before growing watermelons in any location. Watermelon plants grown in fertile soil are healthier and produce more fruit.

Watermelon vines are typically grown on a hill to improve the drainage of the soil. Well-drained soil is a must for healthy melon plants. A second application of organic fertilizer placed along the row after the vines are a foot long also benefits the production and growth of melon plants.


Pests and Disease

Beetles commonly feed on young watermelon plants and inject a bacteria that causes the watermelon plant to wilt and eventually die. Without the use of pesticides these beetles often proliferate and quickly kill melon plants each growing season. An alternative to using pesticides would be to move the watermelon to a new garden location and discourage the pests from taking over the growing location.

Aphids are another common garden pest for vine-growing crops like watermelon. They feed on the plants by sucking juices and causing a twisted, distorted growth to the vines. Moving the location of the watermelon bed to a place where vegetation loved by aphids wasn't growing the previous year will help reduce the risk of this pest.

When the soil is warm and damp, watermelon and other vine crops are prone to "foliar leaf blight diseases," which is a fungus. The most common species are anthracnose and alternaria. They cause the watermelon plant to have a black spotted appearance. These spots will occur most often on older leaves near the base of the plants. As with pests, risk of diseases can be reduced by rotating the watermelon crop to a new location each year. Using quality seed is also a good preventative for most pests and diseases.

Technically, watermelons can be planted in the same place each year, but it is not recommended for the overall production and health of the plant. Moving watermelons to a new location where they have not grown in the past three years will prevent many pests and diseases from killing your plants and wasting your gardening efforts.



Marr, Charles. Cucumbers and Melons. KSU Horticultural Report. MF-668. Kansas State University Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service. November, 1994.
Roberts, Warren and Jim Motes. Watermelon Production. HLA-6236. Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension Service.

Watermelon photo by Guilherme Tavares

Harvesting Blackberries and Making Fresh Blackberry Sauce

fresh blackberries
According to the Peterson Field Guide of Edible Wild Plants, blackberries grow wild throughout the United States. They prefer very sunny areas and are often found in pastures. Blackberries are a cousin to wild raspberries and dewberries.

Like their relatives, they grow on very thorny brambles. Brambles are a cluster of arching, non-climbing, and thorny shoots. These brambles resemble rose bushes. Foraging for wild blackberries can be work a lot of work, as the thorns try to discourage foragers. Below are some tips to harvesting blackberries and recipe for fresh blackberry sauce.


How to Harvest Blackberries

In the months of June through September, blackberries can be found in fields and sunny thickets growing wild, they can be harvested. The larger and more overgrown the blackberry bramble, the more difficult it is to reach all the fruit. Wear shoes that cover your entire foot, pants that cover your entire leg and long sleeves over your arms. Do not wear shorts, or a short sleeve shirt to harvest blackberries. The thorny brambles will try to grab you and it is much easier to remove them from your clothes than from your skin.

Ensure that you have properly identified the blackberries you are about to harvest. If you are a novice, take along a knowledgeable forager or a foraging guide to ensure that you are indeed picking blackberries.

Stay on the edge of the brambles. Do not try to enter into the thickest part to reach more berries. Pick only the berries you can get to from the edge. Once you have found a blackberry bramble that you wish to visit in the future, cut the bramble back in the fall to make it easier to harvest blackberries in the future. Some foragers mow rows through large brambles in their pasture to enable them to reach all parts of the bramble.


Making Fresh Blackberry Sauce

fresh blackberry sauce
Fresh blackberry sauce can be made easily and quickly. Simply, wash, drain and measure the blackberries. For each quart of blackberries, add 1/4 cup of sugar. You can use brown sugar or substitute honey if desired. Cover the berries and set them aside to sit for 2 hours. Bring the berries to a boil. Once they are boiling reduce the heat to medium and simmer them for 30 minutes. The longer the berries are simmered the thicker the sauce. The fresh blackberry sauce can be used immediately as a spread for bread or crackers, placed in a pie, or as a topping, such as a cheesecake topping.


Credits and Resources:

How to Make Pear Sauce: A Canning Recipe

pear sauce


  • Pears - 4 to 6 pounds for each quart of fruit
  • Canning jars, lids and rings
  • Water bath canner
  • Jar grabber
  • Lid lifter
  • Water or juice
  • Sugar, honey, or splenda (optional)
  • Large saucepan or stockpot

How to Make Pear Sauce

  1. Wash and drain the pears.
  2. Peel the skin off the outside of the pear with a sharp paring knife. Slice it into quarters and remove the core and seeds.
  3. Drop the pears into a saucepan filled with juice, or water. If you are using water, put a two teaspoons of lemon juice in the water to prevent the pears from turning brown as you slice them. Ensure there is always enough water, or juice, in the pan to cover the pears.
  4. Cook the pears over medium-high heat until they are soft.
  5. Drain the pears and retain the juice, or water.
  6. Place the cooked pears in a blender. Puree the pears adding water or juice as needed to get the puree moving.
  7. Pour the pureed pears back into the saucepan
  8. Bring the pear sauce to a slow boil over medium heat, stirring often to prevent burning.
  9. Add sugar, splenda, honey, or cinnamon to taste.


How to Can Pear Sauce

  1. Ladle the pear sauce into sterilized canning jars. pears
  2. Use a spatula to remove any air bubbles from the sides of the jar.
  3. Cap the jar with a sterilized lid and ring.
  4. Process the jars by boiling them in water for 15 minutes.
  5. Remove the jars from the boiling water using the jar grabber.
  6. Let the jars stand, undisturbed to cool, usually overnight.
  7. Ensure the lid of the jar has sealed. The top, when depressed, should have no give to it if it sealed properly.
  8. Label the jars with the date and contents.
Pear sauce can be enjoyed by itself, used to compliment a meal, or used as the base for making pear butter. Pear butter is pear sauce that is cooked longer. During the cooking process the natural sugar is caramelized, yielding a dark brown appearance and a thicker spread used for toasts and breads.


How to Make Pear Butter from Pear Sauce

To make pear butter, follow the steps above prior to canning the pear sauce. With the sauce still in the saucepan, add 1 cup of sugar and ½ teaspoon of cinnamon to every 10 cups of pear sauce. Simmer over low heat stirring frequently to prevent burning. The pearsauce will become darker and thicker. The pear butter is ready to be canned when it will round up or maintain a peak on a spoon. Follow the canning steps above for pear sauce.

In addition to making pear sauce and pear butter, pears can be canned as halves or used to prepare preserves. Pears are a very versatile fruit.

More Canning Recipes from this author are available at, "Home Canning Recipes."


How to Make Sweet Zucchini Relish | A Recipe to Pickle and Can Zucchini

how to make zucchini relish

We usually think of only cucumber pickles, but technically speaking pickling includes any fruit, vegetable, or meat prepared using a pickling process. Pickling involves either fermenting in a brine solution (a salt solution), or packing in vinegar for food preservation. Most foods can be pickled, but because of the salt, or vinegar, pickling most often involves vegetables.

This zucchini relish recipe uses a brine to assist in the crispiness of the pickled zucchini, but it is not fermented. A spicy vinegar solution is used to preserve the zucchini and peppers. A small amount of brown sugar is used to sweeten the relish. It tastes much like the sweet pickle relish we eat on hot dogs, but zucchini is used instead of cucumbers.

Similar recipes may call it, "sweet summer squash relish." Zucchini is the most common type of summer squash and is sometimes referred to as simply, "summer squash."


How to Make Sweet Zucchini Relish

  • 2 cups shredded or chopped zucchini
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup sweet green pepper
  • 1/2 cup sweet red pepper
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons celery seed
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seed
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  1. Chop the peppers and onions. Shred, or chop, the zucchini. A food processor works well for chopping and shredding the vegetables, but it can also be done by hand.
  2. Place the vegetables from the step above in a very large bowl. Sprinkle the vegetables with the 2 tablespoons of salt. Fill the bowl with cool water until the vegetables are completely covered. Let the zucchini and peppers stand in the brine solution for 2 hours.
  3. Drain the vegetables and rinse thoroughly with water. Combine the sugar, celery seed, mustard seed, and vinegar in a large saucepan or stockpot. Add the chopped vegetables. Bring all ingredients to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
Makes four half-pints. This canning recipe may easily be doubled, tripled, or quadrupled.


How to Can Zucchini Relish

Ladle the hot zucchini relish into jars leaving 1/2 inch of headspace at the top of the jar. The jars should be sterilized before filling. You can do this by boiling the jars, or simply washing them in a dishwasher on the hottest water temperature setting. The easiest way to prevent spills on the rim of the jar while filling is to use a jar funnel. Spills on the rim of the canning jar may interfere with the seal.

If there are air bubbles in the jars, run a clean rubber spatula around the sides of the jars to remove the bubbles. Screw on sterile lids and rings. These can be sterilized in the same ways as the canning jars. Process the jars of canned zucchini relish in a water bath canner for 10 minutes.

Enjoy your summer zucchini harvest all year long by preserving it as your own homemade sweet zucchini relish. This canned relish recipe makes an excellent gift for friends and family or a special addition to holiday meals.

More Pickle Canning Recipes



Zucchini Relish Photo: Heather Schulte
"Ball Blue Book of Preserving." Jarden Home Brands. 2005. Muncic, IN 47305.

Make Ahead Apple Bread Recipe


Make ahead apple bread mix also works wonderfully for your own pantry. We are all busy cooks, but that doesn't mean you can have oven fresh bread in a flash. 

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup broken walnuts

Step 1: Preparing the Make Ahead Mix

In a large sealable bag, combine the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Shake the dry ingredients well inside the bag to mix them. Label this bag, "dry ingredients."
In a separate sealable bag, place the sugar. Label this bag, "sugar."


Step 2: Adding the Instructions for the Apple Bread

apple bread
Attach the instructions for making the apple bread recipe:
In large mixing bowl, combine 1/2 cup vegetable oil, 2 eggs, 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla, the sugar with the mix, and the apples (coarsely chopped). Stir together well. Add the premade mix. Pour batter into two greased 8-in. x 4-in. bread pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the center of the bread should come out clean when the bread is done. Allow the bread to cool for 10 minutes on wire rack before attempting to remove it from the pan.
This step is important wether you are giving the mix as a gift, or keeping it for yourself. Be sure to attach the instructions!


Ideas for Decorating the Make Ahead Apple Bread Mix

Place the apple mix in a paper bag decorated with an apple stamp, attach a wooden spoon with raffia ribbon. Write the words, "Make Ahead Apple Bread Mix," on the outside of the bag in your best handwriting. Cut an apple out of cardstock to attach as a tag with the instructions for making the apple bread, or order the apple tags in the photo from Add a few apples to the bag and apple cut outgive them away to your friends and family. This make ahead mix can also be given as a "jar gift" as many premade cookie mixes are packaged for holiday gift giving. When giving this gift to a young couple, or as a housewarming gift, a new loaf pan can be added.

Nothing says falls like the aroma of apples and cinnamon. This premade mix can be mixed up and decorated as a gift, or used to stock your own pantry. It is quick and easy to pop in the oven anytime you have unexpected visitors. It has a shelf life of approximately 1 year. Applesauce can easily be used as a substitute for the oil in this recipe to make it heart healthy and add to the apple flavor of the finished bread.

Image Credits: Apple Bread curtousy of Wikimedia - Apple Bread


If you like this, see: More Make-Ahead Bread Recipes!

Recipe for Picking Beets and Canning

preparing fresh beets for canning

Supplies for Canning Beets

  • 3 quarts of beets (approximately 20 medium beets)
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tablespoon allspice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 1/2 cups of vinegar
  • quart size canning jars, lids and rims


Preparing the Beets

When growing beets, they take two and a half months to three and a half months to be ready for harvest, depending on the variety. Beets are usually ready to be harvested in early June, before the hottest part of the summer season. When harvesting beets, push the dirt away from the tops and check the width of the beets. They are ready when the width reaches one to two inches. Don't leave beets in the ground too long or they become tough and woody.
It's best to prepare the beets for canning within a day of harvest. If the beets cannot be prepared and canned immediately, store them in the refrigerator, or in a cool dry place to prevent spoiling. Wash the beets well. Trim the roots and stems from the beets. Slice the beets using whatever method is desired. Beets are often quartered or sliced into 1/4 inch slices for canning.


Cooking the Beets for Canning

In a saucepan, boil the beets in salted water, until they become tender. Allow the beets to cool. Drain off one and a half cups of water. In a large stockpot, combine the water, sugar, cinnamon sticks, allspice, and vinegar. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer, or low heat. Continue to simmer the liquid for 15 minutes. Remove the cinnamon sticks immediately.


Canning Beets

canned food
The jars, lids and rings should be sterilized either by boiling them in hot water, or by washing them in a high-temperature dishwasher. Pack the cooked beets into the sterile jars. Ladle in the hot liquid, leaving at least one quarter inch of space at the top of the jar to prevent leaking while the beets are in the water bath canner. Remove any air bubbles in the jars by sliding a sterile spatula down the side of the jar. Seal the jars by placing the lid and ring on the jar. Process the jars in the boiling water of a water bath canner for 30 mintues.
Remove the canned beets from the canner and allow them to rest undisturbed overnight. The jars will begin to seal as they cool. You can check to ensure the jars have sealed after at least 12 hours by pressing down on the lid of the jar. If the lid has no give and it is depressed, then the beets have sealed. Label the jars with the date and the contents before storing. The pickled beets will last a year in a cool dry pantry.


Credits and Further Reading

More Reading:

Canning Pear Halves

pear halvesThe Bartlett and Kieffer varieties are the best pears for canning. After the pears have been harvested, store them in a cool area (60 to 65 degrees) until they are fully ripe and ready to be canned. Use only firm, ripe pears for canning. Pears that are bruised, or overly-ripe will not produce quality results.


A large stockpot can be used to process, or boil, fruit for canning. However, water bath canners are usually sold with acccessories such as a jar grabber, lid lifter and a rack inside the canner that makes it much easier to move the cans in and out of the boiling water.

Step 1: Preparing the Canning Syrup

pear halves after cuttingIn a stockpot, place enough water or fruit juice to completely cover the pear halves you will be cutting. If you are using fruit juice, nothing else is needed. If you are using water add one of the following for every 5 cups of water:
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 1/8 cup of splenda
  • 1 cup of sugar PLUS 1 cup honey, maple syrup, or light corn syrup.
Pears canned at home do not require sugar to prevent spoilage. Sugar is used to sweeten the pears and help preserve the texture and color. Browning of the pears is called oxidation and occurs as soon as the pear is cut. Have the syrup, or juice, ready so the pear halves can be place in it as soon as they are cut. Often a syrup for canning pears is made from water, sugar, splenda or honey, but using sugar is not the only way to prevent oxidation. A more natural method of canning the pears in juice will also prevent oxidation.


Step 2: Cut the Pears

Wash and drain the pears. Using a sharp paring knife, stem, peel, and cut each pear in half. Cut the circular core and seeds from each pear half. Place the pears in the stockpot with the juice or sugar.


Step 3: Prepare the Water Bath Canner and Poaching the Pears

water bath canner
Fill the water bath canner with water and heat it over high heat until the water comes to a boil. While waiting on the water to boil, bring the pears and syrup to a slow boil over medium high heat. Boil for 20 minutes until the pears are poached. The original white color of the pear halves will become more translucent. When the water in the canner is boiling place each of the canning jars, lids, and rims in the boiling water to sterilize them.


Step 4: Fill the Jars

jar funnel
The canning jars and lids need only to remain in the boiling water for a few moments to sterilize them. Remove the jars and lids from the boiling water. The jar grabber and lid lifter that come with most canning kits make this job much easier. Place the jar funnel in the first jar to be filled with pears. The jar funnel prevents spills on the outer rim of the jars. The rim of the jar must be very clean to seal properly. Using a ladle or large spoon, put the pear halves into the jars. When the jars are filled with pears, ladle the syrup or juice into the jar, leaving ½ to ¼ inch of head space at the top of the jar. Place the sterile lid and rings on each jar.


Step 5: Process the Canned Pear Halves

water bath canner
Process the jars of canned pear halves by boiling them in a stockpot or water bath canner for 20 minutes. Using the jar grabber to lift them out, place them on the counter and leave the jars undisturbed overnight. The jars will usually begin to seal within 1 to 20 minutes, but check each jar to ensure it has sealed before putting them away in the pantry. The top of the jar should be sunken and have no give to it when it is depressed in the middle.
Canning pear halves is a great way to preserve the fruit for winter months and the jars make very attractive gifts for family, friends and co-workers. Some other common recipes for canning pears include pear sauce and pear preserves.

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