6 STEPS TO BOT­TLING YOUR OWN PEARS

NZ Lifestyle Block - - Diy Food -

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.

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