We have two varieties of pear trees taking up residence in our little orchard.
The oldest is too tall and is half gone due to a lightning strike many years ago. The fruit is as hard and crunchy as an apple till it yellows and softens like the ones I can get at the store. They sweeten up nicely, but if I wait to use them when they yellow, the cores are brown and render the fruits useless for the canning process. Therefore, the picking and canning take place when they are still as hard as apples.
The other tree is a smaller, younger one. It bears fruit that retains its crunch even when the fruit is ripe. They are smaller, delicate pears with a refreshing sweetness that we enjoy. We like to eat them fresh.
My husband and I saw that the time for picking the fruit was upon us. So I picked up the windfalls while he sported climbing the ladder and picked from the tree. We got 10 wire baskets picked that day.
Peeling that many pears was not practical. So we hauled the old apple cider press out from the basement. We placed it in the shade of our ancient Burr Oak tree and washed it.
My husband washed all of the pears. I cleaned old ice cream pails and a filtering device and made the kitchen ready for the chore ahead. I gathered and washed up several quart jars, lids and screw bands for the next phase of this job.
This job takes effort. It is more fun if company can come over to help enjoy the project with us. But this day, as spontaneously as it came up, made us do the job alone.
The juice was extracted, the chickens got to enjoy the leftovers and the press was washed and stored away till we have use for it again.
In the kitchen, I strained solids from the juice through a few layers of cheesecloth.
I heated the juice to scalding with cinnamon to taste. (Try stick cinnamon sometime.) I flavored one batch with lemon juice. I have used red food coloring for a pink-pear juice.
We were a very tired pair that day, but pears were on the shelf. We rested that night content that we had preserved the bounty that the Lord had provided.
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