I have been the recipient of another haul of free fruit. My mum and dad’s garden has a pear tree which produces an incredible amount of fruit each year, and this year is about only the second in my life that the humans have got to the pears before the wasps! So when we went to pick up the rabbits from their holiday hutch in the parental garden (two bunnies being the other members of our two person, three animal household), we were also offered a ladder and a bag.
But then the holiday was over and the 3.5kg of pears sat in my kitchen for a week… Luckily only a couple went mouldy so I made two different preserves with them. Last year I saved a recipe for Pear and Fig chutney from Country Living but was put off making it by the cost of figs. I saw them reduced in the supermarket in the week so I made up three jars of this. It looks lovely so fingers crossed it tastes good.
Secondly, I went back to the trusty Pam Corbin book and made Mulled Pears. I went for the cider version instead of the red wine as I have unfortunate memories of being practically force fed pears in red wine by my grandad as a teenager – “try it, you’ll like it” is the rallying cry of so many Jewish parents and grandparents. Actually I probably would like them now, but I do love cider… You heat up a syrup of cider and sugar, stud the pears with cloves and then pack them.
I adore the smell of cloves. It reminds me of working in the Geography lab for my favourite professor the summer I finished my degree. I was setting minerals from glacial sediments on slides in clove oil so they could be looked at under the microscope to identify them. This told you what rocks they had come from and therefore which direction the glacier had come. Anyway, I suppose no one is really interested in Quaternary science so I’ll get back to the pears…
I’m drinking the remainder of the cider right now, and it’s not the best so I hope the pears are ok. You pour over the syrup and then put the jars in the oven. When they are totally cool you have to test the seal by unfastening the clips and lifting the jar up by the lid. I have never been so scared in the kitchen! Thankfully the seals held so there is now one rather attractive jar for the present box and one for the cupboard. There is always one for our cupboard. I think that is probably it for preserving for now so I have packed the jam pan away and am just awaiting the excitement of bottling all the flavoured alcohols in about a fortnight.