Week 48: Pickled Pears

Thought I was done with fruit but alas, pears are uber Christmasy so they seemed only appropriate as the first pickle of December. After months of trial and error, I finally have a few pickled fruits that I think really hit the mark (grapes being another). The pearfect recipe, if you will. The trick is a super small amount of salt and a more equal vinegar to water ratio but the recipe could totally be dependent on the fruit being pickled.

One thing I saw a lot that I definitely wasn’t on board with for this pickle recipe was cooking the pears in the brine before canning…they’re already such a soft fruit and you’re peeling away their protective outer layer so I just poured brine over fully raw pears and called it a day. I much prefer a crunchy pickle as opposed to decomposed mush. Even so, the pears I used were super firm beforehand – so firm, in fact, that I could easily peel them with a veggie peeler as opposed to delicately with a paring knife – and they still softened up a significant amount once pickled.

A lot of the recipes I found also seemed to be geared more towards syrupy delights; I cut back on the sugar a bit and ended up with a fresher tasting pickle, which is generally more my choice.


Pickled Pear Recipe

Makes 4 pints

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • A pinch of salt
  • 4 tsp cloves (1 tsp / pint)
  • 4 cinnamon sticks (1 stick / pint)
  • 4 sprigs fresh rosemary (1 sprig / pint)
  • Chunk of ginger, cut into 1-cm pieces
  • 6 firm pears (about 4 lbs)

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Instructions:

  • Bring the water, vinegar, sugar and salt to a boil until sugar and salt are fully dissolved. Set aside, but doesn’t need to cool too much.
  • Peel and quarter (or eighth) pears, depending on size. For one of the jars, I did more of a cube for better eating accessibility.

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  • Peel piece of ginger and cut into small, ~1-cm chunks. Add to pint jars, along with 1 tsp cloves, 1 cinnamon stick and 1 sprig of rosemary (or 2 of each, if pickling in a quart jar).

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  • Fill jars with pear pieces and cover with brine.

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  • Take a good look because these turned out SO PRETTY (not so much in the photos), and will instantly put you in the holiday spirit.

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  • Recommended use: Refrigerate jars; these are definitely better cold. I really liked these on their own and they’re still sweet enough (with very little salt and the less than usual flavor of harsh vinegar) that you could even add them to something like oatmeal or yogurt. But if you’re not feeling adventurous, as always, cheese would be the ultimate pairing.

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