August 22, 2010

Pears in Sweet Tea Syrup

10 Bartlett pears
5 cups water
2 cups sugar
3 Tazo Vanilla Rooibos tea bags

Prep 3 quart jars. Peel, core and halve the pears. If you'd like, float them in water mixed with Fruit Fresh or lemon juice, to help retain their color. Pack them into the jars. Meanwhile, bring the sugar, tea bags and water to a rolling boil. Do not let it reduce. Pour the hot syrup into the jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Run a knife or a jar scraper to dislodge any bubbles while turning the jar slightly. Seal. Process in a hot water bath for 25 minutes.

Note: This recipe yields a bit more syrup than you will probably need. I scaled it this way because while my 10 pears fit into 3 quart jars, you might have some leftover. There should be enough syrup leftover to can a pint of extra pears if need be.

Note: A great source for canning information is the Blue Book guide to preserving. I highly recommend it for learning how to can. Here is a bunch of other canning books and equipment I find useful.

My thoughts:
This week's Tazo secret ingredient was pears. I was trying to think of something that wasn't too autumnal to make. Pears are just coming into season but I am more into peach-berry-tomato mode than pears and apples right now. So I was turning that around in my head for a while and decided I would pair them with the quintessential summer drink, sweet tea. I thought about making some sort of granita or some other frozen dessert but the sort of grainy texture of Bartlett pears made me think it might not be as smooth as I'd like. So I decided to can them in a light sweet tea syrup. Most recipes I found for canning pears use the hot pack method where you heat the pears through in the syrup but I think that makes the pears a little mushy. Instead I decided to process the pears more like peaches so they would hopefully retain the shape and texture better after the long processing time.