Since we were blessed with an abundance of pears.....it was time to can them up.
Since we were going to be working on the pears, I put the lima beans on to cook for lunch. They could do their thing without much attention from me.
Now all of the jars, lids and rings are washed and ready. It's time to get started on the pears.
I told a friend that I had 25 gallons of pears waiting at home to be processed and she told me her mother uses her apple peeler to peel their pears. We have had one since the days of Y2K, but it has never been out of the box - a new
antique. I was glad to hear it would work on pears since we had so many, and I actually knew where it was. I got it out and had Frank take a look at it to see how it worked and if he thought it might to the job. It is a simple, but effective machine.
Since the pears had been sitting, ripening for a week, we suspected they might be too soft to work with the peeler. They were. But not for the reason we expected. The pear is 'speared' onto the shaft of the peeler, then the peeling
blade is released to do it's work. It wasn't that the pear was too soft for the peeling blade, the core of the pear was too soft to hold it in place, so the pear started spinning around on the shaft instead of getting peeled. If we have the chance to pick more pears, I will try this again when they are more firm. I think it would work great and save a lot of time.
But since it didn't work for this project, that meant some extra hours peeling by hand. That set us back several hours before we could fire up the water bath canner and we didn't think we would get them all finished in one day. But then the Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) system went down in many places around the country. That got us to thinking. Not knowing how long that system would be down and what the outcome might be, we decided to get all of the pears canned in case we may need to turn our attention to other things over the next few days.
After we got enough peeled and sliced for the first batch, we mixed up the syrup.
The ratio we ended up using was:
24 cups water
7 cups sugar
1/2 cup Fruit Fresh When the syrup was hot, we added the pears and let them heat for 5 minutes.
We heated the jars, rings and lids.....then we used a slotted spoon to dip out the pears, then ladled in the syrup. We used the water bath canner. When it came to boiling, we processed them for 25 minutes.
We found out that even though the slices may be pretty, they were kind of a pain to pack into the jars. For the next round of pear peeling, I cut the pears into chunks instead of slices. They packed much easier and I was able to get more pears in each jar.
I was very glad to see the bottom of the last bucket for the evening.
It was a pear-y, pear-y long day by the time the last of the jars came out of the canner. We ended up with 28 quarts of beautiful pears.
Now, going back to the shut down of the EBT system. Frank has a few thoughts he would like to share.
Being an avid news reader, I found multiple different excuses as to why the system went down. I also found official versions with different times that the system quit working and found this to be a little bit unnerving. Our state, Oklahoma, was one of the 17 states where the cards would not work. Hours past, and the cards still didn't work. Let me explain here. There are many people that need assistance and help from time to time. This is by no means finding fault with these people for their circumstances.
But I try to picture in my mind what it would be like in California, for example, which was one of the states that was effected by the outage, what would really happen if this system didn't come back up. What would all of these people do? Where are they going to get food and the other necessities that they need to live? Could this happen in our society? Now we know that the answer is yes, it can happen. There is an old saying, "If something can happen, It will." Food for thought. It's always a good idea to follow the Boy Scout motto, "Be Prepared." Some day, some where, some how, one of these major systems is going to shut down. Here's your wake up call folks. Pay attention. The wolf is at the door. May God help us all.
Frank and Fern