To start off September, I wanted to share this recipe - canned cinnamon hibiscus pears.
I bought a box of pears planning to can them with an herbal twist. I was skimming through a canning book when I saw "red cinnamon pears" where they used red food coloring to dye the pears. Immediately I thought of hibiscus and how that would lend a beautiful natural dye to cinnamon pears. And this recipe was born.
The end result has a lovely rosy hue. If you'd like them darker, you can double the hibiscus and cinnamon. This recipe produces both a subtle taste and look.
I am not a canning expert - I referred to Ball Blue Book (I think this is their current issue) and Mavis's blog One Hundred Dollars a Month Canning 101 - How to Can Pears and Prudent Baby's post How to Can without a Canner. I used the raw packing method (described on Mavis's blog), which basically means you pack the jars with raw fruit, add boiling liquid then process. For processing, I used a large stockpot and put a towel underneath the jars so they don't rattle as per Prudent Baby's advice. But if you are interested in canning big time, you can buy a canner from amazon instead of using a stockpot.
Before beginning, make sure you have sanitized the jars - either in boiling water for ten minutes or on a hot wash cycle in your dishwasher. Have a large stockpot, medium saucepot, and small saucepot (to boil the jar lids) ready. Also have all your ingredients set out and measured. This will make the process much smoother.
Cinnamon and Hibiscus are available from Mountain Rose Herbs.
Canned Cinnamon Hibiscus Pears
9 1/2 pounds bartlett pears
7 cups water
1 1/2 cup evaporated cane juice sugar (or 1 cup honey)
1/4 cup hisbiscus petals*
3 cinnamon sticks, snapped in half
4 quart-size mason jars
1. Juice the lemon and add to a large mixing bowl with a couple cups of water. Put the small saucepot on the oven and boil the jar lids.
2. Add seven cups water, sugar, cinnamon, and hibiscus petals to a medium saucepot and boil then simmer. Meanwhile peel the pears, core them, and cut to preference (I sliced ours in quarters). Douse pears in lemon water.
3. Put pears in four (clean) quart-size mason jars and fill with the boiling hibiscus liquid (leaving 1/2 inch space from the top). Add a cinnamon stick half to each jar. Wipe the jar mouths clean with a wet cloth then put lid on the jars and screw the tops.
4. Put into a canner (or a large stockpot with a towel in the bottom so cans don't knock around) and process for 30 minutes (or according to your elevation). Make sure the water level is at least two-three inches over the jars.
5. Pull out jars and let sit overnight, undisturbed. Make sure the seals do not pop by pushing on top of the lid. If the lid pops in then it means the jars didn't seal. Store in fridge and use within two weeks. If the jars did seal, store for winter, hand out to family and friends, or enjoy now!
Makes four quarts.
*I wrapped the hibiscus petals in two layers of cheesecloth and tied with kitchen twine. You can leave it loose and just drain before you pour the boiling liquid into jars.
I served my canned pears with a little cashew ice cream. But they are delicious plain! Great accompaniment to any fall meal.
Question of the Day: Have you ever canned anything? If so, how did it go?
Originally, I prepared everything and found out my stockpot barely fit the jars! I still processed and they all sealed but I put them in the fridge to be safe.