Preserved Pears with Ginger and Star Anise

Ingredients:

about 6 large pears, ripe but still firm to the touch

1 3" knob fresh ginger, peeled and sliced thin

juice of 1 large lemon

4 star anise

2 1/4 cups sugar

5 1/4 cups water

special equipment~

4 sterilized quart sized mason jars {see directions below}

large tongs

the biggest pot you own {or a canning pot!}

Directions:

First, sterilize the jars. To do this, wash the jars and lids with hot soapy water {I consider jars fresh out of the dishwasher sanitized, personally}. Fill up your large pot with water and place the jars and lids in the pot. Bring to a boil and boil for 10 minutes. Make sure jars are fully submerged in the boiling water. Keep jars and lids in the hot water until ready to use.

Second, make the sugar syrup. Combine the sugar and water in a medium pot and bring to a boil so all the sugar dissolves. Turn off heat and set aside for the time being.

Now, prepare the pears! Wash, peel, core and slice the pears into thick slices. Place pears in a large bowl filled with cold water and lemon juice to prevent any browning. Once you have all the pears prepared it's time to can!

Place a clean dishcloth on the counter next to your large pot of water and jars. Carefully, use your clean tongs {or jar lifter if you have one} to lift a hot jar out of the water. Pack with pears. Tuck a few pieces of ginger and one star anise seed in each jar. Top with sugar syrup, making sure to leave 1/4" headspace at the top of the jar.

Wipe rims with a clean paper towel and carefully lift a hot lid from the water with the tongs. Place the lid on top of the jar and add the screw band. Make sure not to over-tighten here --- just screw it on normally. Repeat with remaining jars and pears.

Once you have all your pears in jars, bring water back up to a full boil. Place jars in the water, MAKING SURE THERE'S AT LEAST ONE INCH OF WATER ON TOP OF JARS. If your pot isn't largest enough for your jars, you might need to use a second pot...or invest in a super large canning pot. Make sure you've got a full boil going then set a kitchen timer for 20 minutes. Let the cans process in the boiling water for 20 minutes then lift out and let cool. You're done! You should hear a delightful popping sound as the jars cool and the seal is made. To test the seal, press your finger on a cooled jar lid. It should not pop back up --- rather, it should be concave. If it does pop back up, refrigerate immediately.

Preserved pears will keep for 1 year. Once you open the jars, make sure to refrigerate immediately. 

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