Serious Eats: Talk
Pear preserves - 1st batch not quite right?
This is the recipe I followed:
* 1½ cups sugar
* 2½ cups water
* 6 medium cored, pared, hard, ripe pears, cut in halves or quarters (about 2 lbs)
* 1½ cups sugar
* 1 thinly sliced lemon
Yield: About 5 half-pint jars
Procedure: : Combine 1½ cups sugar and water; cook rapidly for 2 minutes. Add pears and boil gently for 15 minutes. Add remaining sugar and lemon stirring until sugar dissolves. Cook rapidly until fruit is clear, about 25 minutes. Cover and let stand 12 to 24 hours in refrigerator.
Sterilize canning jars. Heat fruit and syrup to boiling. Pack fruit into hot jars, leaving ¼ inch headspace. Cook syrup 3 to 5 minutes, or longer if too thin. Pour hot syrup over fruit, leaving ¼ inch headspace. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened clean paper towel; adjust two-piece metal canning lids.. Process in a Boiling Water Canner.
After the 24 hours, the liquid was still very thin and watery. I reheated to boiling, packed the fruit in jars and continued boiling the syrup for at least 30 minutes, trying to get it to thicken. I added more sugar and even some liquid pectin, and it thickened slightly, but not to the consistency I thought it should be.
Finished the jars in a water bath and let cool. The instructions say let the jars set for 3-5 weeks for best results. I had to try one small jar early - flavor was good, pears were slightly firm, but of course the syrup was a thin, even after sitting in the icebox.
What should the syrup consistency be?
(The only pear preserves I have ever had came from Aunt Ruby, whose preserves were a deep brown color with a very thick syrup. I asked her about her recipe, but she just cooks them "til they look right." She can't peel the pears anymore because it's too hard on her arthritic hands, and I have to agree, peeling those pears is like peeling rocks.)