Thursday, October 10, 2013

Slogging through Canning Land

Ruth Kerr, President, photo circa 1948

Armed with the Words of Wisdom from Mrs. Alexander H. Kerr, I just peeled and cored and simmered and packed and canned my way through a five gallon bucket of pears.  Days before I had admonished my well-meaning neighbor for "bringing me work," but now after the fact, those little jewels sitting on the counter make me proud.

Seven pints of pears packed in pineapple juice.

Boil 6 cups of pineapple juice and 1 cup of sugar until dissolved.  Peel, core and pack jars with pear slices.  Fill with syrup leaving one inch of headspace.  Seal and process in water bath for 20 minutes.

Seven pints of pears packed in mint syrup.

Boil 6 cups of water and 2 cups of sugar until dissolved.  Add mint extract and green food coloring for desired taste and color.  Peel, core and pack jars with pear slices.  Fill with syrup leaving one inch of headspace.  Seal and process in water bath for 20 minutes.

click to read the fine print
Honestly, I cannot vouche for the quality of these mint pears.  I've never tried them before, but they sounded like a nice side dish for leg of lamb.  When making the syrup, it smelled like I had dowsed my kitchen in Dr. McGillicuddy's.  In actuality I used essence of peppermint, a small bottle that I recently received from my mother.  She claims it was already in the cupboard when she married my father in 1965.  Two thoughts immediately come to mind: why did she hang onto it all these years; and is 82% alcohol a bad thing?  With my typical devil-may-care attitude, I poured the entire contents of the bottle into the syrup (3 teaspoons in all).  It took my breath away when I sniffed the steaming kettle.

So here's to all of you Homemakers out there in Canning Land who "hold in your hands the power of preserving ALL the natural goodness of God's creation for your loved ones" (eloquently stated by Ruth Kerr, who incidentally has proven by laboratory tests that Kerr lids give 22% greater sealing surface).  Keep your chins up and your jar lifters poised while bushel after bushel of strawberries, tomatoes, cucumbers, apples and pears cross your countertop!  Your reward is waiting for approximately 2-3 months when you finally decide to start cracking those seals.


  1. Glad to read I'm not alone as I began turning a bushel of grapes into jelly yesterday...needless to say there was juice on the counter, floor, name it. But you're so the middle of winter when we open a jar for homemade bread or biscuits, all the work will be forgotten! And I LOVE that the bottle is from 1965...and oh-my, 82%?!

  2. Good for you! I ended my canning with apple butter and apple sauce. When hubs brings in one more arm full of tomatoes I give them away....Sew done, because sewing has moved back to the top of my list. I was glad to box up all the canning supplies and move them down to the storage area for another year. I always tell the hubs if he gets a deer I will move them back up to try my hand at canning some deer meat. But he has not gotten one for the past few years and we only get samples from others.

  3. Let me know how the mint pears turn out. I love going into my garage and seeing all my jars lined up just waiting for me to use them. The best thing in the world is knowing that there is array of home grown food at your finger tips.

  4. Hi..........I'm the mom that saved that 1965 bottle of essence of peppermint! I inherited it when I married my husband who had a 75 acre farm with a very nice 1928 Prairie style house in original condition. As a bachelor, my mother-in-law used this house as a dumping ground for all of her unwanted household stuff. How nice is that? Hence the bottle......which she said was the remedy for children's toothache. Hmmmm???? It just got moved from pantry to medicine cabinet to where ever there was space and somehow became PERMANENT and eventually an antique.

  5. Hello! I can't believe you would want to use that peppermint stuff in your pears!! That might not taste good. The pineapple juice should do the job. But hey having 82% alcohol those pears may have a little kick when you serve them up! I remember Rexall drugstores as I grew up in Southern California. I just Love all your house & sheep pictures. It's sounds like your a very busy lady!!
    Tucson, Az


Thanks for your thoughts! Come back to visit again soon!