How to Make and Preserve Pear Honey
Pear honey is not the first thing you think of when it comes to processing this hearty fruit, but the finished product is absolutely delicious. As with most canning recipes, it doesn’t require a lot of effort, but it’s important to follow some basic guidelines. Take a look at the following steps, and you can start adding this to your stockpile today.
The first step is to select pears that are over-ripe, but not damaged or in poor condition. You can cut out any bruised spots or defective areas, but try to avoid using pears that are well-beyond their “sell-by date”. Peel the pears and set the peelings aside. Cut the pears into chunks and place them in a stockpot along with the peelings. Add just enough water to cover the items before bringing it to a simmer, and let the pears cook down until they are mushy.
The next step is to remove from heat before taking a potato masher, or similar utensil, and start mashing down the pears. Return to heat and bring the pears and water up to a boil, cover and let cook for about 20 minutes. When finished, carefully pour the contents into a large bowl by straining them through a large piece of cotton fabric. Gently press down on the peelings and fibers of the pears in order to extract as much liquid as possible, but be careful not to get burned in the process.
Place the strained liquid back into the stockpot and add some sugar. You want add about a 1:2 ratio of sugar (1 part sugar for every 2 parts of liquid), bring up the heat, and stir until the crystals have completely dissolved. Make sure that you stir frequently in order to prevent the liquid from scorching or sticking to the pot. Next, add a small amount of lemon juice, at most a quarter cup for every 10 cups of liquid you have along with a teaspoon or so of vanilla to taste. Stir everything together and let simmer until the water starts to evaporate and the liquid begins to thicken.
You will know when the liquid is thick enough after doing a spoon test. Take a spoonful of the liquid and place it in the refrigerator. You will be able to see how thick it is once it cools. If it’s too runny, continue to cook down the mixture. If it is too thick, add a small amount of water. Experiment until you achieve the level of thickness you prefer.
Processing the Honey
Do not remove the liquid from heat when it reaches the desired level of thickness. Rather, keep it at a very low simmer in order to avoid having it coagulate while you ladle the honey into your canning jars. The next step is to start filling your preheated canning jars with the honey until about ¼ inch of headspace remains. Wipe down the rims to remove any spills or gunk that may be present before attaching the lid assemblies and tightening them.
You don’t have to process the jars for medium-term storage, as the heat from the jars as well as the liquid inside should be enough to create a good seal. However, if you prefer, you can use a water bath canner and process the jars for 10 minutes. In both cases, allow the jars to cool to room temperature before checking the quality of the seals.
One important tip is to consider using pint or ½ pint jars for this recipe because once they are opened, the contents will need to be refrigerated or consumed right away. Make sure to label and date the honey, and try to consume within 3-6 months for maximum freshness. That’s it, now all you need to do is enjoy the honey. It makes for a great spread, and you can use it as a nice, soothing balm for itchy or scratchy throats as well.