6 STEPS TO BOTTLING YOUR OWN PEARS
1 Sterilise your jars
Making your own home-made bottled pears is surprisingly simple and the golden rule is to make sure that your jars are clean and sterilised before you start. There are various methods. I like to use traditional Agee jars that have a wide mouth. Make sure that the lids have no dents in the sides as they will not seal properly if they do. Run your jars and lids through the dishwasher on a hot setting, or put the jars and lids into a large pot, cover with cold water and slowly bring to the boil, then boil for 10 minutes. Pour off the water and turn jars and lids upside down in a dish drainer to dry.
2 Prepare the fruit
Halve your pears, core and peel them if you want to (I don't), and cut out any blemishes or spots. Pop them in a bowl of cold water to stop them going brown until you are ready to put them into the syrup.
3 Prepare the syrup
In order to preserve pears, you need to make a sugar syrup. The ratio is 1 cup of sugar to every 3 cups of water. It is apparently possible to use fruit juice although I haven't tried this. Bring your syrup gently to the boil, then turn down to a simmer. I add star anise and cinnamon quills to my syrup, to give the pears a delicious spicy flavour.
4 Heat the jars and seals
While you're making the syrup, have your now-dry jars heating up in the oven, set at 180˚C. You can't put boiling liquid into a cold jar as it will crack or shatter so the jars need to be piping hot.
Place your seals or lids into a heatproof bowl and pour boiling water over them to sterilise them and get them hot.
5 Add the pears to the syrup
Drain the prepared pears and carefully place them into the hot syrup using a slotted spoon. As soon as the liquid is simmering again, turn the heat off.
6 Bottle the pears
Be careful. The next steps all involve HOT temperatures. Spoon your pears into the hot jars with the slotted spoon. Use a towel to handle the jars and a wide-mouthed funnel to slide the pears in, taking care with the hot liquid. Pack the pears in, pushing them down with the spoon and then fill each jar almost to overflowing with the syrup.