I've really never preserved pears before, so I didn't know what to do with them other than to can them. I canned eight pints and put a few more pints in the freezer as an experiment. I still have about half the pears left to put up, but I ran out of canning jars, and I'm not sure if pears freeze well, so I'm going to check out one container before I decide how to put up the rest.
I've never had the time to can much before, but my mother has always canned and frozen every kind of fruit and vegetable imaginable. When I was younger, the fruits and vegetables we ate during the winter came from the cellar or the freezer in the garage, not the grocery store. Preserving any kind of food is a lot of work, but looking at the sealed jars I felt a certain sense of satisfaction. I realized that despite my disappointing vegetable garden I have managed to put up quite a bit of produce. On the shelves or in the freezer I have:
- sliced strawberries (picked at a truck farm just up the road)
- strawberry jam
- green beans (from my garden--not many)
- cherries (picked from the neighbor's)
- apple slices (from my trees)
- unsweetened applesauce (for baking)
- tomato juice (not as much as I would like, but at least there's some)
- apple butter
I certainly don't have enough to keep from making frequent trips to the grocery store, but it will help a little in cutting down my grocery bills. And these home-grown products are certainly the perfect example of "slow food," the movement to help our environment by eating more local produce. While my mother--and my grandmother before her--preserved food out of economic necessity, today preserving food is more of a way to avoid so much waste, to eat healthier, and to be more eco-conscious. This is a tradition that is worth preserving!