Pears. Brandy. Pears preserved in brandy, in you very own kitchen. Fa la la la la, la la la la.
I know, I know, the weather is still lovely and the holiday season is a long way off. Until it isn’t. Pear season is looming, and by the time holiday bells are chiming, it will be too late to make these awesome gift jars. The time is NOW, friends!
Brandied pears are simple and quick to prepare. A bottle of lower shelf brandy will set you back $15 or so, but divided among 8 gift jars, that’s less than $2 per jar. You may even have a bit left over. I’m sure you’ll find a way to use it up, somehow.
Ingredients (makes 8 pint jars)
6 pounds of firm pears
4 cups of brandy
8 teaspoons lemon juice
2 cups of sugar
4 cups of water
Step 1) Combine sugar and water in a saucepan. Simmer over low heat until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat.
Step 2) Peel and core pears. Slice as desired. I prefer 1/2 inch thick slices, as shown in the jars above. If you prefer to leave your pears quartered or even halved, that’s fine.
Step 3) Pack pears into sterilized, pint size canning jars. Pack the jars as tightly as you can without mashing the pears!
Step 4) Add 1/2 cup of brandy and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice to each jar.
Step 5) Finish filling each jar with your sugar and water mixture, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace.
Step 6) Poke a spoon or other tool into the bottom of each jar to remove air bubbles. Wipe rims clean, and top with lids and bands.
Step 7) Process jars in a boiling water bath for 20 minutes. Allow to cool, and check seals before giving as gifts!
These brandied pears will taste best if allowed to sit in their sealed jars for a few weeks before opening. Serve them over ice cream, in crepes, or right out of the jar as part of a festive buffet. Happy Holidays!