Bottled pears

Bottled pears

By
From
Real Food by Mike
Makes
12 pears
Photographer
Alan Benson

There is much to be said for bottled fruit. The Europeans hold them in high esteem and usually only the finest fruit is kept for this purpose, presented in syrup set in stunning tall jars. When fruit is out of season, this is as close as it gets to eating fruit that still tastes its very best. Any orchard fruit works well, and you can adjust the syrup according to your palate. For a slightly sweeter version, use 60 per cent sugar to 40 per cent water. Or, for a more natural-flavoured syrup, use 40 per cent sugar and 60 per cent water. Syrup choice also depends on the fruit. I find sharper fruit, such as plums and quince, work well in the heavier 60/40 sugar–water syrup while, in this recipe for pears (as well as apples, peaches and nectarines) the standard, medium 50/50 syrup works nicely.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
12 ripe pears, peeled and cored, (or halved if large)
2kg caster sugar
2 litres warm water
1 teaspoon citric acid

Method

  1. Pack the pears into a 3 litre (12 cup) capacity sterilised jar.
  2. Combine the sugar, warm water and citric acid in a bowl and stir until the sugar dissolves. Pour the liquid over the pears until they are fully submerged. Secure the jar with a lid, but not too tightly.
  3. Place the jar in a large stockpot with enough water to come three-quarters of the way up the jar and bring the pot to the boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and boil gently for 1 hour. Remove the jar from the pan and immediately secure the lid tightly – using a tea towel to help (as it’s hot) – to form a vacuum. Leave to cool.
  4. Once cool, tap the lid to see if it clicks. This means that the lid has been sucked down by the vacuum and it makes the clicking sound as the metal changes direction. The lid will now look slightly concave instead of convex. If not, give it another 15 minutes in a pot of rapidly boiling water. Unopened, the pears will keep for up to 1 year in the pantry. Once open, your pears will keep for up to 1 month in the refrigerator.

Medicinal Benefits

  • Pears are among the least allergenic of all fruits; reactions to them are rare. They are full of the antioxidant vitamins A and C (to protect the body), and minerals such as copper, potassium, manganese and magnesium, which may help stabilise blood pressure. Pears are also a good source of insoluble fibre, which acts as a mild laxative. It’s believed it could help protect against cancer-causing toxins by binding to them in the colon.
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