I came across a recipe for pickled pears in the September section of the National Mark Calendar of Cooking: in the introduction to the month, Ambrose Heath and/or Dorothy Cottington Taylor write “Long evenings and idle dinner-time propel us towards dessert, and before the cobnuts we shall sample an apple or perhaps one of the first pears; for apples, say a Worcester Pearmain, with its crisp sweet flesh; for pears, that loveliest of all, Doyenne do Comice.” We don’t have a pear tree but we do have an apple tree; it bears plenty of fruit but for some reason they are not very sweet. we don’t often have desserts, only when we have friends round, and i did try drying the apples in rings and although they taste quite nice and last for a long time, we don’t eat many of them either.
So I wonder if I could pickle them? there is the recipe I found for pickled pears, which sounds rather nice.
- 6 lbs pears/apples cored and cut in equal sized pieces ( (a) it doesn’t specify whether they should be peeled – use your own judgement, (b) if you use apples choose ones which will remain firm in cooking, (c) the quantities are rather large so half or reduce by a third and use your own judgment on the amount of spices – I think in general we like stronger flavoured things than nearly ninety years ago; I would still use all the lemon zest and juice)
- 4½ lbs sugar
- zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 2 pieces of root ginger
- ½ oz cloves
- ¼ tsp allspice
- vanilla pod
- 1 stick cinnamon
- 3 pints of vinegar (I guess in the 1930’s when this book was written it would be malt vinegar – I think I would use cider or white wine vinegar)
- crush the ginger and tie it with the other spices in a muslin
- put vinegar, sugar and spices in a pan and bring to the boil
- add the fruit and cook slowly until tender
- remove the spice bag and pack the fruit into jars
- if the liquid seems very thin, boil quickly for a few minutes once the fruit has been removed until it becomes syrupy then pour into the jars
- cover and seal
- there is no mention on whether they should be left to mature or eaten straight away – trial and error i guess!