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Archive for the ‘pears’ Category

The last few posts I shared pictures of the feral pears, my brother Eric and I harvested.  They finally reached a good stage of ripening,  so he and I got busy peeling, and quartering them for canning. These pears were not as symmetrically and smoothly formed as ones from the store. Nor were they perfect, as they come from a tree which was either left over from an old homestead or were truly wild, planted by a bird or critter. It took a bit more time to get them peeled and cut up and no way are they actually quarters! LOL Some might be, but the majority are just whatever shape they ended up;-o I weighed them when we were done, and we have 7 pounds in these two bowls

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We had a pot on the stove with 6 cups of water, 2 cups of honey, and 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda , in it.

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Heated the liquid up a bit and added the pears to simmer in the syrup for about 5 minutes

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Assembled my jars and tools while the pears cooked and got the water to a full boil in the canner.

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See that tool with the red handles, balanced on the edge of the bowl? Invaluable tool I pilfered from my husband’s tool shed. It has a magnet on one end. That is soooo handy when fishing hot flats and rings out of that bowl of boiling water! Mechanics use it to fish out fallen bits during vehicle repairs.

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Filled the jars up for water bathing in the canner. Half plain and half spiced with nutmeg, cinnamon, and allspice.

End results… 11 pints:)

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Canned Pears

7 pounds of peeled and quartered pears

9 cups water

3 cups honey or sugar

1/4 teaspoon baking soda for every 1 cup of honey

Start a big pot simmering with the water, honey and baking soda. Add the prepared pears and cook them for 5 minutes.

Ladle the pear and syrup into your clean canning jars. I ended up using 11.

Process in a water bath canner for 20 minutes.

Can be spiced with your choice of spices:) I used allspice, cinnamon and nutmeg in mine. I just put a pinch of each on the top of some of them. Gave them a good stir through with the handle end of  my wooden spoon before sealing and processing in the canner

You will notice in my post I said I used 6 cups of water and 2 of honey for my syrup. Which deviates from the recipe. I wrote the recipe the way I will do it next time. I was shy a bit of syrup when filling the jars, and improvised by filling the rest of the way with apple juice. So, I decide to increase the proportions in the recipe, thinking I would rather have too much syrup than not enough. If I end up with a small glass extra, cool! Sounds like a tasty drink:)

We found our pear tree, at the edge of the woods. I like to imagine some other woman, in the past, planting and harvesting from this same tree. Many times you can find fruit trees and other edible stands of plants, near spots which were old homesteads.

I started destemming more elderberries while the canner was going. I ended up spending 4 hours total destemming last nite. I plunked on the couch with  bowls around me and watched 2 silly movies when I did it;-) I decide to dry some of them in my dehydrator. I had found the nicest tool to use with berries, herbs or other small things. It is a Clean-A-Screen by American Harvest company. It has little finger places along its side so that when you are through drying your harvest, you can lift the screen out and flex it, thus loosening the berries or whatever else you might have dried that is sticky. I am certain many of you already use this, but it was new for me!

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Today I have been invited to a friends apple orchard to watch and learn about making apple cider! Have a beautiful day, wherever you are. Honey and herbal hugs to you from Comfrey Cottages

 

 

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A week ago, my brother Eric and I harvested the first pictures batch of elderberries, from a wild spot. These were preserved as a tincture, and syrup, and some were dried. We also harvested from a feral pear tree, and I have been letting them soften just a tad on the counter. Pears are a fruit that seems to develop well, on one’s counter, if it is picked a bit hard. The wild plums were picked by Katee and a week ago. We picked them yellow, and they have developed a nice red color, also in the kitchen. Last night, Eric and I went and picked the last of the elderberries at our spot, and I have been invited to a friends property to harvest what berries she has, this morning. Eric introduced me to a nice lady, last evening, who has an apple tree, but didn’t want to harvest from it. We went to her home last night and got a tour of her lovely garden, I tried the apple, it was nice, so made plans to harvest there today. In the meantime, I had talked to our local state museum folks, and been assured I can harvest the wild plums Katee and I found there. So…. I need to go to Val’s to pick elderberries, stopping at the store for her on the way….bring berries home, emptying the carrying basket, get Katee to go with me for the plums, stop and get apples on the way home… and then get busy canning up the pears and de- stemming the elderberries. I might wait and do up the plums in the morning. Just depends on how it goes!

This past few days, we have enjoyed cooler temperatures and I am just rejoicing in the gifts from our Mother’s labors.

 

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tulip tree

My neighbors have a huge tulip tree which overhangs Comfrey Cottages on the north. It’s flowers are so absolutely gorgeous! The bees have been very busy gathering nectar from it and I can hear them buzzing happily high up in its branches. I have always appreciated this trees for the shade it provides and its nectar and pollen it provides the bees. The squirrels are eating the mature buds also, with apparent relish. Well I decided to research and find out whether this tree might have edible or medicinal qualities, that we could benefit from also. What I found was most interesting indeed! While I can find no references to eating the Tulip Tree, in any form, Henrietta’s Herbal had a couple pages chock full of historical references to it’s usage as medicine. It seems that it has been basically ignored in years though. I think that I will explore some of the medicinal uses listed this year since I have a very keen interest in using the trees and plants that are easily available in my area. Luckily I have some Amish friends that harvest trees, so I can ask them to share some of the inner bark of the root the next time they cut one. I will share about it whenever I get a chance to work with it. Of course, I don’t intend to do anything but enjoy the blessings of the tree overhanging our gardens here:)

One of the pages Henrietta has is information from John Scudder on this tree.

 

“The bark of Liriodendron tulipifera.—U. S.

Preparation.—Tincture of Liriodendron.

Dose.—From five drops to one drachm.

Therapeutic Action.—The bark of the Tulip Tree is tonic, stimulant, diaphoretic, diuretic, anthelmintic, aromatic, stomachic. It may be used in all cases of anorexia and impaired states of the digestive organs, where a stimulant tonic is indicated. It promotes the appetite and facilitates digestion; for these purposes it will be found fully equal to the simple bitters. It is often used with some advantage in intermittents.

It is employed in gout and chronic rheumatism, and in the declining stages of the acute form, after the irritated action has subsided, as a stimulating diaphoretic and tonic. If administered freely in the form of a warm infusion, it evinces conspicuous diaphoretic properties; and not unfrequently its diuretic powers are equally manifest.


The American Eclectic Materia Medica and Therapeutics, 1898, was written by John M. Scudder, M.D.”

Very interesting, right? lol

 

 

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