Saturday, September 10, 2016

Pear Butter

It's Raining Pears!!

Our old pear tree is heavy laden with pears this year!
The branches are breaking down from the weight.
I don't recall seeing so many pears in all of our 36 + years here on this farm.

We aren't even sure what kind they are, just that it's a very old tree
that never gets pruned or never sprayed for bugs.
It just gives us lovely shade on our back deck ...

Pears are one of our granddaughter's favourite foods. 
She says "Num Num" when she sees them.

The farmer has crawled up the step ladder as high as it is safe to do so
to rescue some of those beauties.
They are rock hard and keep ripening once picked.
You have to catch that perfect "in-between hard and too soft" stage.
A few have ripened and now what to do ...

Options are canned pears, pear jam, pear sauce, pear pie filling,
or why not pear butter?

Here is the recipe I used:

14 Cups chopped pears (unpeeled and quartered). I cut the blossom ends out and removed the stems. Also cut out any blemishes and bruises.
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh ginger
1 star anise
1 Cup water
Juice from one lemon (save the zest)

Cook this in a large heavy pot till the pears are completely soft (30-40 minutes).

Discard the star anise and press the fruit through a food mill or chinoise to make sauce.

This made approx. 6 Cups of sauce. Discard the pulp and put the sauce into kettle to boil down.
1 Cup sugar
Lemon zest from one lemon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
You can adjust the sugar to taste but I found that 1 Cup was enough for this small batch. I saw one recipe that recommended 1/2 Cup sugar for each Cup of sauce - a bit much I think?

Cook on medium heat, stirring often to prevent sticking and burning. This takes time (about 2 hours) and babysitting. Ladel into hot sterilized jars and seal. This batch cooked down to about 4 1/2 pint jars of butter. 

Taste notes: The star anise added a wonderful flavour. I am looking forward to trying this on tea biscuits with a spread of cream cheese - Num Num. I would probably make a double batch next time to make the effort more worth while.

Till next time - watching the pears drop/ripen and trying to figure out what to do with the rest of this bountiful harvest! 

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Mom's Society Chip Pickles

This tattered and yellowed old recipe was in amongst 
my mom's recipes.
She called these Society Chip Pickles.
I believe she got this recipe from my sister Evelyn many years ago!

Mom's handwriting

I well remember these neon green, super sweet pickles and was
inspired to try them after seeing some at a recent bbq.
In fact, we were invited to dinner where this very jar of "9 day" pickles had
originated from and a new batch was in process there.

So, off to the market I went ... I just had to do it!
I purchased a heaping 6 qt. basket of medium sized pickles,
prepared the spices and was off to the races.

Today was the final day - day 9 and as I type this post, 
the jar lids are popping ...

4 days of boiling water soaks and
then sliced on the 5th day.

a few drops of green food colouring added on day 6, 7, and 8

Canning day #9.

They taste super sweet/sour and very crunchy. Success I hope!

I washed and trimmed the stem ends off each cucumber
I made a batch and one half of the vinegar/sugar juice (enough to cover the sliced pickles).
   (i.e. 12 Cups sugar - divided, 3 Tbsp. pickling salt, 6 Cups vinegar, 2 1/2 Tbsp. pickling spice)
Next time I would add a bit more food colouring to achieve that neon green look or leave it out all together. The colouring is totally optional.
This made 10 pints plus a quart of pickles (I had to run for a few more jars).
Each day during the boiling water baths I scimmed off any foam that floated to the top during the night and rinsed the cucumbers before pouring the fresh boiling hot water on.

Till next time ...... have you been inspired to do some canning this summer? 

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Inspired Peach Custard Tart and Travelling

The other week my sweet sister-in-law made us a yummy peach pie.
It had a shortbread crust and was still warm when she brought it.
We could hardly wait for dinner over the next few days as we looked forward 
to this delicious dessert!
Thanks so much Marilyn - what a treat.
You inspired me ....

Peaches are so in season right now and I purchased a little basket
of those rosy cheeked Red Haven wonders at the market.
When there were only a few peaches left and needed to be used up I hunted down a recipe
for a shortbread crusted peach pie and found this wonderful

To keep the rosy tone on the peaches, I scalded them with boiling water
for a few minutes.
Is this how you peel your peaches?

Love the colour of these beauties

I think I'll be making this recipe again and again - it was delicious!

We enjoyed it with some dear friends, Dianne and John
while chatting about their adventures and world travels.
Dianne writes a fabulous blog called
(click on the above link to view her blog)

They explore the world, house sitting and pet sitting in the most amazing places!
What a great way to travel and make new friends ...
They have inspired us to consider more travelling as well.

Till next time - enjoying this hot, hot summer we are having and thankful for a nice green lawn again after some much needed rains.

Be inspired ...........