Overnight Pear Preserves
Serves: Makes about 2 quarts
Hands On Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 10 hours and 30 minutes
12 cups sugar
24 Bartlett, Bosc, Anjou pears or other ripe, aromatic pear variety, peeled, halved, cored and cut into eighths
12 cups water
In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the sugar and pears. Cover and keep in a cool place overnight.
The next day, add the water and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook until the sugar is completely dissolved, 3 to 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low. Simmer until the pears are tender and transparent, an about 20 to 25 minutes.
Place a wire rack on a rimmed baking sheet. Sterilize 2-quart canning jars and lids in boiling water, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Remove the jars from the water and place upside down to drain on the prepared rack. Remove the lids from the water and dry with a clean towel. Turn the sterilized jars right side up on the rack, using tongs or a kitchen towel to protect your hands. When they are cool enough to handle, dry them with a clean towel. Set aside.
Remove the pears from the heat. For each jar, insert a canning funnel and carefully ladle in the pears. Pour over the hot syrup, leaving 1/4-inch of headroom. Clean the rims of the jars with a clean, damp towel and tightly secure the lids.
Using tongs, place the jars on the rack in the canner. The water should cover the jars by at least 1 inch. Cover the canner. Return the water to a boil and boil gently for 15 minutes. Using tongs, transfer the jars to a towel to cool. If the seal works and fits properly, the metal lid will be slightly concave within 24 hours of processing.
Store the unopened jars of preserves at room temperature for up to 1 year. Once the pears are opened, store in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.
Per tablespoon: 90 calories (percent of calories from fat, 1), trace protein, 22 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram fiber, trace fat (no saturated), no cholesterol, 1 milligram sodium.
About the recipe
These overnight preserves can be served with buttered biscuits for breakfast. Chef Virginia Willis, who tested them, notes that they can also be served the way she ate them growing up — chilled for dessert, or pureed and folded into biscuit dough for fried pies. Also delicious: served on a tray of artisanal cheeses, or as a relish for ham, pork or duck.
She notes that for refrigerator pear preserves, you can skip the boiling-water canner and refrigerate for up to 1 month.
Recipe courtesy of Belinda Gullatt.