02 October 2011

Preserved Wine Poached Pears

Just the title gets me excited!  And make no mistake, this is an exciting recipe!  I have a few preserving cookbooks published in England that intrigue and confuse me on many levels.  I love their use of sweet/savory ingredients, yet warming sugar in the oven before adding to the pan...huh?  Why?  There is no scientific answer, so it must be a "that's the way we do it" answer.  I have some of those deals too...except my preserving class has kept me on my toes in questions!

This recipe is one of those things too.  I know it worked, yet, I still need to wait 6 months to find out if it was a success and the pears are still sealed without any scary bacterias.  I'm sure this is not approved by the USDA (but really, please read my "food pyramid" post to see how much I trust their opinion on food these days :))  but with all the wine and sugar, I'm sure nothing scary will survive and they are SO good!

My honest concern is that I used pears I grew organically....just remember, wine kills EVERYTHING! 

So, I peeled about 6 small pears, whole, leaving the stem attached for a rustic look.  I stuffed about 3 pears per pint jar and added a cinnamon stick broken into 3 pieces (3 inches), about 6 whole cloves and  3inch long pieces of lemon and orange zests to each jar.  I wanted them to be quite spiced!

In a large pot, I combined a bottle of delicious Pinot Noir wine (taste to make sure you like first!) and 1 1/2 cups sugar, brought it to a boil and boiled for 5 minutes.  I preheated the oven to 250 degrees.  I then poured the wine over the pears until about a 1/2 inch clearance was reached, checked for air bubbles and put the seals and lids on.  I popped the whole filled jars into the oven and cooked them for about 2 1/2 hours.  I removed them from the oven and checked the seals after 24 hours.

It worked!  Weird and fabulous!  Beautiful and so amazingly delicious!  Warm it was even better...and then I drank the juice!  In case you missed that...drink the wine too!  If you're not into preserving foods, find a friend and talk them into making these, you won't be sorry!


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